A few weeks before my life completely changed, I wrote this:
“All divorce kids deal with a sense of abandonment that stays with us long after our parents’ sign the official papers. We’re victims caught in the middle, unsure of our loyalties and our safety.”
That is hard to read now because a mere two weeks after that, a series of events unfolded which eventually led to the end of my marriage. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. And this means that to some extent my kids are going to experience and are experiencing what I described about my own life in that previous post.
I don’t know what led me to write that particular line and blog post at that time, but now it feels almost prophetic, as if it was a warning of sorts.
And I don’t want to be overly dramatic here. Although my parents’ divorce obviously affected and although for years I secretly wished they would get back together no matter what, I’m okay. I turned out fine.
But still, as a parent, and as someone who knows first hand what growing up like that feels like, I’m always going to be a bit sad about it. Because I know exactly the thoughts that they’re going to have. But I know that’s okay because they will be okay. Kids are resilient. And one day they’ll learn the painful lesson that life is about finding that balance between reality and expectations.
No one, and I really mean no one, says “I do” thinking that it would only last a year or ten, in my case. Everyone that takes that step thinks of big words like “forever” and “ever after.” But things happen in life and sometimes “forever” is just a word and we have to learn to be okay with that.
Both of my parents always gave me unconditional love. There was never a question as to whether I was loved or not. And that’s something I will always model for my children. And I know that such is the wish of the kids’ mother.
So, in that regard, I’m not afraid or sad of how they will turn out. I know that they will be loved and cherished in both households, that their accomplishments will be celebrated with joy and that their defeats will be met with solace and encouragement. That’s what being a good co-parent is all about; it’s about making sure that your kids come first, that they feel loved and safe above all.
Seeing as my entire family lives in Florida, this new chapter in my life has been lonely and difficult. However, I’m really counting on that African proverb to be true; that it takes a village to raise a child. I’m counting on my village to show up and in a lot of ways they already have.