My friend Mrs. Chicken was lamenting the other day about her husbands parents. They are divorced and it seems they are still ensuring that everyone feels their pain.
I read the post and felt so bad for her husband and for her. I have Chase who is 12 and his father and I are divorced. At the time of the divorce, yes I was in a great deal of pain. I had been left with a house to sell, dreams shattered, whispers of my life going on behind my back and my beautiful blue-eyed baby asking “where is daddy”? You can do anything you want to me – but mess with my baby – you have a whole nother fight on your hands. 2 selfish people decided to sneak around and ruined 2 families. I was angry for a long time. I was angry for what had happened to my child. The loss of his way of life and the loss of his having an intact family. I was pissed off because my trust was breached in the worst possible way by the person who was supposed to protect us.
My ex-husband apologized. A lot. He meant it. And that is where the healing began. Grace can happen in the worst of situations. The ex is an attorney and having been together with him for more then 10 years I saw and took calls from many divorce clients. They were the clients that worried me. Unstable, hateful and out for revenge. I saw people at their very worst and I saw what happened to their children.
I never wanted Chase to feel anything but love from us. I never want him to feel less than. I never want him to wonder how he is going to juggle mom and dad. I want him to know that while we are not together, we are still an “intact” family. His dad loves him. His mom loves him and that we will always work together for his benefit. Anyone who reads and tries to better their life after divorce knows that speaking hatefully about your Ex to your children is no different then speaking hatefully about your child.
It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of biting your tongue. It takes a lot of patience. I love Chase more then life itself. I would do anything for him. Showing him the path of respect in spite of disagreements, working through irritations, and thinking about the big picture instead of yourself. It also helps that Chase’s father is a good ex-husband. He is always there for our needs. He talks with Andy about sports, issues whatever while he waits for Chase to get ready. He hangs out in our kitchen and feels comfortable enough to eat out of the candy bowl while waiting. It takes a lot of Grace and a lot of forgiveness on both sides but we manage it.
When Larkin was diagnosed, Andy and I sat down with Chase and talked it all over with him. Chase is still the one and only conversation I have had that still to this day brings me to my knees sobbing. My sweet sweet boy of 10 who asked “why couldn’t it have been me and not her” and who became angry with me and through his tears accusing me of lying to him in the hospital. “I knew something was wrong and you lied” I patiently explained that we didn’t lie. We simply didn’t know. Chase replied “well I knew”.
It was his father’s night to have him and I had called prior to the pick up to explain what we had been told, that we were going to tell Chase and that our son was going to need a great deal of support. Ex didn’t flinch. He was truly sorry for what we were going through. Asked what he could do to help and said that whatever we needed he would do. Ex took Chase to his home and then sat down and explained to him that Larkin was just a baby to be loved and showed him pictures and painted a beautiful picture to reinforce that life was going to be ok. Divorce moved me along to where I was supposed to be. I was supposed to be with Andy and Larkin is here. My life is filled with more love then I could ever have imagined.
Since then, Ex doesn’t flinch when I call and Larkin is in the hospital, he ensures that Chase is covered. If I call with a legal issue – covered. If I call for anything at all – covered. Everyone wins. It aint easy but it’s doable. I hope my son’s wife never writes a blog about her family other then to say that all is well and everyone is happy. Ex and I will do our part the rest is up to Chase.