Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My kids are my glue

Being vulnerable, dependent, transparent and exposed have never been words that people would use to describe me. Quite the opposite unfortunately. While I truly believe that people who possess these qualities are brave, strong, bold and fearless when it comes to all things in life, I can’t quite master these traits. But nonetheless, I sit on the sidelines and admire all the women in my life who have them.
It’s difficult not to have a sense of jealously of the women in my life with successful families. It has always been my dream to have a strong knitted family. With a closeness that could never be tampered with. That was rooted in faith, watered with love, and grew wildly in life. Sadly, nothing I did right or wrong led me to this picture perfect life.
Here is my first attempt to be all of those traits I mentioned and I hope it portrays me, the way I see others who own them.
I have let go of my “picture perfect” dream. I had a funeral for it and mourned it. But the sting of death still appears in strange areas of my life and completely leave me blind-sided and gasping for air.  I guess I never thought that once I moved on, I would still have to actively deal with this from time to time. Why didn’t anyone tell me?
But more importantly to me, our kids…. Definition of Divorce - is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties.   (as if the legal duties and responsibilities of our marriage were ever taken seriously – but ok…) But we dissolved everything. Our life together, our home, our mutual friends, our property, everything was split or dissolved. Except our kids. They aren’t couches, dishes, cars or anything else that can be replaced. We have to share 2 humans for the rest of our lives….More specifically for 17 more years….We couldn’t make a 9 year relationship work, I am fearful of how successful we will be at our co-parenting relationship. If we fail at that, do we get a do-over? Do we fail as parents? Do the kids fail? How does this all work? All I know is it is emerged with fear and dripping in doubt.
As it is in any relationship, all you can control is you. Conduct yourself maturely, sympathetically, empathetically, lovingly and friendly… What you receive in return is never in your control. It’s a cycle of cause and effect, action and reaction. A dance I have yet to master all the steps to. But I am learning.
We share a mutual love that I know not a soul on this planet will ever possess.   The love for our kids. Whenever they accomplish something, hit a milestone; say something hysterical, it’s just an automatic response to want to share it with the one and only person who will grasp its significance. Coincidentally, he is the one person I probably need pure distance from. It’s all very confusing and ironic to say the least.
I want to whisper this softly because I am fearful that I will jinx it…..But the co-parenting is going a lot smoother than I anticipated it would. Of course, we have shattered hurdles getting to this place of…peace… For lack of a better word. It is above mere tolerance of one another, borderline friendly, and closer to civil then I ever expected to be with him.  And I have to say, I like it…. There are numerous moments of hesitation where I can’t help but question his motives or wonder what the expiration date to his maturity is. This comes from our history of every good deed has a selfish angle…..
Our children are like mirrors and sponges. They reflect off of me and the Ex. They soak up our emotions and actions. If we are good, they are good. If we are happy, they are happy. If we are sad, they share our burden. A burden that was never meant for them. And it still amazes me how Logan (my youngest)  can seem to miss something he never really had. The Ex and I split when Logan was too young to see color, let alone acknowledge the state of our marriage…. But still he seems to go through phases of sadness…When the Ex drops him off, or when I leave, or maybe he is just a normal toddler? Its hard to distinguish the difference between normal separation anxiety and divorce anxiety. But I can’t help but feel the weight of our choices upon his tiny little shoulders. I say OUR choices bc I don’t honestly feel like we are where we are based solely on the “final straw.” Or maybe it’s a way to remove some of the guilt I still allow to visit my life from time to time. But I think that is an entire separate blog topic.
Our oldest, Kylee is eccentric to say the least. One of the most animated people I know. She has a heart so full of emotion. I often picture a tornado of feelings circling inside of her with no real way of realsing them. Teaching her how to filter these emotions have always been a challenge, even pre-divorce. But now, post divorce, she seems to be unwilling to accept life’s harsh realities that the happy endings in her movies aren’t in the cards for us. It’s a sense of stubbornness I pray she carries with her in life and applies it to her goals and ambitions. But she is going through this divorce with full force and with as much intensity and heartache as we are. She randomly asks those unfiltered questions that puncture deep and the answer won’t provide her with the reassurance she is seeking. She has a very close bond with me and her daddy. A bond that won’t be easily shaken or destroyed. I don’t fear losing closeness with her. More so, I genuinely just want her to be content in her circumstance. We can’t force her to heal faster, accept it sooner, be happy with a choice we forced her into… Ultimately, this was completely out of her hands and she had no vote in the matter. I’d like to chalk it up to early life experience and practice for the kids… But I can’t help but feel responsible for making them endure the unfairness of life so early; an injustice against my children that I can’t make right.
What really grates all over my nerves, is that while I thought I only had to focus on one child mourning the loss of her family as she knew it, I now have to consider the likelihood that Logan recognizes what he is missing….Even though he has no recollection of that lifestyle. I guess it is ingrained in us to want both. To combine the love they have for each parent, put it under one roof and call it a day. I have random questions floating in my head…Do they feel apprehensive? Are they afraid? Do they feel safe, whole or even normal? Do they know what normal is? Because by the world’s standards, they ARE the normal ones…It isn’t my idea of normal….But that’s beside the point.
I really don’t have quite enough to worry about (sarcasm font - insert here) these days. I don’t worry about bills because I am filthy wealthy…( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my career ( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my future ( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my relationships ( sarcasm font - insert here).
Honestly, I think it IS “normal” to worry about these things to some degree. Or at least I have convinced myself it is. Nothing means more to me or the Ex than our kids. I trust that even though our love wasn’t quite enough to hold our marriage together, the mutual love we share for our crumb snatchers will ultimately be the glue that holds us, as single parents, together.