Please do keep pretending in public that I do not exist, that I am not even someone who you used to know. Let alone someone you once loved, someone you danced with, someone you slept with, someone you laughed with. In five, ten, maybe even 15 years you will have to bear the burden of any regret you may feel for your behavior, just as I do now. If it helps you to publicly snub me then have at it. But in private, how dare you pretend that I am not the same person who gave birth to your son! How dare you put your issues with me in the way of parenting!
We are not friends, we are not lovers, we are not husband and wife, but we ARE parents! Of the same kid! Aren’t two people who are parents of the same child obligated to the child to have a parental relationship? Do I have a backwards priority list that says regardless of how you behave I will continue to do what is best for him because the health and wellbeing of my child comes first?
Sometimes I am at a loss about how to move forward…I feel like I owe it to my son to communicate with his father about the things going on in his life. Whether he has the sniffles, or a string of temper tantrums I can’t explain, or learns a new word, I want to share those things with his dad. He’s the one person that is just as entitled to those moments as I am! How selfish would I be to deny him those tiny windows into his son’s life?
I cannot say that I was a child of a divorce. I was 18 when my parents split and actually quite shocked at how it affected me. I hadn’t expected to feel so…shook up. My three younger brothers were 15, 12, and 6 years old. Watching the aftermath and dealing with my little brothers was more painful than my parents splitting. I saw firsthand how kids can get caught in the middle. Everyone knows that kids aren’t stupid, and half the time I swear they learn things through osmosis. A parent might think they have all their true feelings tightly bottled up, but it leaks out and they can feel it even if they are not aware of it.
I remember wondering if my parents didn’t love each other anymore, did they still love me? A part of them was a part of me, and I was similar to each of them in certain ways. How can you hate this quality in your spouse but love the same quality in your child? It was a legitimate fear. I understand it better now because I am a mom, and loving your child is the closest any person can come to experiencing unconditional love.
I might have to face these questions one day from my son. It’s terrifying really, and I only hope that I can look him square in the eyes and tell him that I love him and I still love his father because he is his father. That I bear no ill will towards him and we both made mistakes that we didn’t know how to recover from. That you only learn good judgement by practicing bad judgement and if you’re gonna be dumb you gotta be tough.
I am tough enough to deal with the consequences of my dumb decisions. Sadly enough my son will have to be tough enough to deal with some of those too. What happens when he asks his daddy those questions and the answer is full of rancour instead?