Have you seen this post over on Single Dad Laughing?
It's about dads who leave. Not just through divorce, but through disconnection. It's about dads who are around just enough to get credit for being good dads, but who spend the majority of their lives living a life separate from their children. It's about dads who walk away and never look back.
The post is a good one, an eye opening one, although it is long and I am fighting the urge to condense it so the points that resonated the most with me could stand out. The author of the blog, Dan, is apparently planning to write a second part of this series about mothers who push fathers out the door. It makes me nervous, because I know that many men say they were pushed out the door because they don't want to feel the guilt that comes with walking away from your kids. I have no doubt that, if asked, I would be described as having pushed my ex-husband out the door against his will. People tend to rewrite history sometimes.
So it's with some trepidation that I look forward to the rest of his series. But, like separation and divorce, good and bad are all mixed together. You can't take some of it without all of it. Sometimes I think the kids and I are better off on our own, and sometimes I think we have been irreparably damaged because someone else wanted out, wanted an easier life. Where I stand on the issue changes daily.
But the post I linked to at the top is thought provoking, even if you don't agree with it all, and it's worth reading. I just sent out our Christmas cards today, and as it did last year, it felt strange to represent my family with just me and the kids. I refuse to feel like less of a family, however, and even though it's hard, I have to choose to believe that my family holds just as much value without a husband and father as with it. It is a fine line to walk, putting on a brave face and representing my family as whole while still recognizing and understanding the fact that my children will be affected by this for the rest of their lives. I don't want to be negative, but I want them to feel like their sadness and feelings are legitimate and valued.
This is a hard road to walk. Dan touches on many points that are imperative to a working co-parenting relationship between divorced parents. In many ways, divorce with children involved is as difficult as marriage. You are required to work together and should have a mutual respect for one another, just like when you were married, but in many cases you have been hurt and wounded by the person who was supposed to be on your team. In marriage, you have intimacy and a relationship to bolster the disagreements and hard times, and in divorce you are stuck working out the bad things but without any of the good to balance them out. It's all the work with no tangible reward.
Of course there is a reward, in raising well adjusted children, and it's worth it. But it's not easy to achieve, and it's hard to become self sufficient and become less needful of personal...well, everything. In divorce there is no make up hug, no cuddling on the couch, no one who thinks you're the bees knees. There is just the relatively cold comfort of settling an argument between yourselves and avoiding court, or making it through an uncomfortable conversation letting him see you cry.
Like everything else, there are growing pains. And sometimes they are painful enough to make you scream. But in the end, I think, we'll all still be alive, and if my kids make it out of this successfully and happily, it won't matter that I had to learn lessons I never wanted to know existed.
No more heavy posts before Christmas, I promise!
18 hours ago