To my darling,
Knowing me is hard – very often, I don’t even know what I am thinking and feeling. Sometimes – often – my own thoughts are a mystery to me. I know that is because I was told for so long what to think and feel, and it wasn’t part of who I am, and I am only now learning to know me for me… It is one of things I am grateful for after this time following Baby Girl’s birth… I have learnt who I am.
Today, I responded to a blog post on To Love, Honour and Vacuum, written for adult children whose parents divorced. There is so much in this blog post that makes me shout yes, yes and yes. It is all true. But, I wanted to share my response with you and my little fear that keeps niggling at my mind, that keeps condemning me.
Sheila, you know my story – and as I was reading each of these items, I’m saying, “Yes, yes and yes”. Every aspect is true to a greater or lesser degree for everyone. Divorce is something you never get over… It gets smaller, and you learn to accept it being there, but you don’t fully get over it. At least, I don’t think so. And while God can and certainly does offer healing and redemption, there’s always this little blind spot that exists… and we can celebrate who we are now despite the divorce.
Just this past weekend, we celebrated my Dad’s 75th Birthday and as a gift for him, we did a family photo shoot. My parents divorced just after I married, so they’ve been divorced for 17 years. AND it STILL felt weird to do this photo shoot without my mom. I know it was her choice to leave, but it felt awkward and weird (and I really like my Dad’s new lady friend – I can’t help but like her, she’s really nice. She’s just not my mom and her place in the photos on Sunday just seemed – well, just not how it should be.)
I would add another – a point 11 if you will: a parent’s divorces gives permission to their adult children to divorce. My mom left my dad and my older brother immediately left his wife. It’s like the gateway opened, and if it was okay for my mom it was okay for him. He since divorced again and is now on his third wife. I am convinced that if my mom had stayed married, so would he…
However, the point I relate to the most is:
I felt everything I knew about relationships, intimacy, and parenting was dysfunctional. I guess I felt trained to just divorce after 18 years of misery.
And that is just how I feel – my mom left after 33 years of marriage. That is a long time to be married and then to just leave. And I have this deep-seated fear that I am trained to do the same. AND I HATE IT. More than anything is the self-doubt this whole thing as cast over me that I walk with every day. And I know that is why I read every marriage blog I come across, I’ve read dozens of marriage books (yours, Gary Thomas, and others), so that I can “undo” the training I feel has been forced on me and try find information that I can use as a “role model” to better my own marriage and who I am as a person. All that I have read has been amazing, and has certainly helped me to now have a strong and happy marriage, but it’s different when you’re doing something to learn and grow and when you’re doing it to run away from fear…
If I had a choice, my parents would still be married – albeit unhappily. I hear so often that people say that no-one should be unhappy – yes, I agree. But then you change within the marriage to make it happy, we all have the choice to do that. My mom has often told me that even while on honeymoon, she wanted to leave – and eventually she got what she wanted. And I often ask myself, what if instead of focusing on wanting to leave, instead she said to herself, “I want this marriage to work and I’m willing to do everything in my power to make it happy…” How different things would’ve been – her whole motivation in how she conducted herself in her marriage would’ve been different – and the end result would’ve been different, too!
I want you to know me.
All of me!
Don’t just be polite. Let your spouse in, to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Never hold back. Ultimately, there is no other way to keep the excitement alive than to simply keep plugged in to your heart. Sheila Wray Gregoire
My fears, my insecurities, my hopes and my dreams… I have been living too long in fear and hiding myself away from you, from the world – I am done with that now. I want to move forward, to live this life God has blessed me with, to love you and Baby Girl with all my heart and soul, and to rest in peace that God is the Blessed Controller.
I love you.
The Baby Mama