Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Does Daddy really have to move out?

Another busy day.  Work, work, work, run to get child, come home to dog (unwalked) and house (uncleaned) and no dinner.  Make dinner.  Tidy up breakfast dishes.  Sit down to hot home cooked meal (late but I did it, tasty and balanced), feeling like maybe, just maybe, I can do this...

And then the question, like four thousand bricks flying at me, hitting my body, bruising me, knocking me down, suffocating me with their weight when I fell.  Accompanied by Katherine's flushed cheeks, and tearful eyes the color of the sky in summer, it was hard for me to breathe.  My own eyes filled with tears immediately.

"Yes, baby, he has to move out.  I am so, so sorry that I can't make our family work together.  I would do anything to give you a great life..."

"Then Mama, can't he just stay in the basement?"
(More tears.  Mine.  I was powerless to stop them.)

"No, baby, it's time for him to move out.  It will be really hard at first, but we will all adjust, and I'm just so, so sorry that it has to be this way.  This is not what I dreamed of for any of us, and I wish it didn't have to be this way, but your dad and I aren't good together.  We weren't good for each other, and that is not how we want to teach you to have a marriage.  In good marriages, people have fun together, and they don't yell at each other, and they work hard together.  We just weren't good at that, and we tried, but we couldn't do it..."

Silence.  I tried again.

"In some divorces, the parents just yell at each other and it's hard for the kids.  We're trying not to do that to you.  When you're with me, you can visit Daddy just down the street whenever you like as long as it's not bedtime or something like that.  I want you to love Daddy, and he wants you to love me.  We don't want to put you in the middle, honey, and we want to give you a great life.  We will try to make this as good for you as we can."

She just sighed.  And changed the conversation.

I still feel sick to my stomach over it.

I didn't say "Daddy shouldn't have yelled at Mama" and I didn't say "Daddy wasn't trustworthy" and I didn't say "Daddy tried to make Mama do all the work" and I didn't say "Being with Daddy made me feel more lonely than when I was alone."  I'm giving myself a gold star for that.  Two or three gold stars, actually.

But I don't want gold stars.  I want to make my daughter's life lovely and beautiful and I don't want her to feel any pain.  I especially don't want to be a source for her pain.

Divorce hurts her.  I was never under any illusions about that.  No child hopes that their parents will have such a bad relationship that it will lead to divorce, and she is no exception.  When he moves out, it's going to hurt her like nothing else in her life.  (My cancer hurt her, but she was so little, she has forgotten so much of it.  This is a blessing.)  I can not protect her from that pain.

I can not protect her from that pain, and it's all I want to do.

I believe that ultimately divorce will help her by teaching her to stand up for herself, and by my modeling of strength and compassion.  She will draw her own conclusions about her father.  She will also draw her own conclusions about me.  I will do everything in my power to model of life of integrity, to lead us both to joy, to be a pillar of strength, to create a beautiful life for myself and for her....but I will not have the proof of my decisions, good or bad, for many years.

I believe, in head and heart, that I am doing the right thing ultimately for her as well as myself.

But please don't mind if I cry myself to sleep tonight.


  1. Having lived my own version of this, it breaks my heart to read. Time doesn't "heal" all wounds, but in my experience, it makes them easier to bear - and of course, with time, there are also more joys to offset the hurts.

    I wish you well with this difficult transition.

  2. Thanks, BLW. I'm so tired. And so scared. But one day it will be done and I'll find that I survived, right? Right now is about survival, not thriving, but I hope to find thriving again, too.

  3. I sympathize and empathize and I am right there with you. You are writing what I am feeling and can't write because I am being monitored now and am being told not to write about it....which sucks. It does get better and it does get worse and it does even out and some days you even feel normal and then one day it just is me.

  4. When my then 5 year old asked that question of me, it pained me that she assumed I kicked her father out, when he left on his own accord. Like a thief in the night, no explanations given, he just left his wife and four children. When I tried to explain that to my little one, she yelled back "Why didn't you stop him?!" I cried so long over that. The fact that she believed I had the power to keep him from leaving. Did I? Did I try hard enough to get him to come home? That still haunts me seven long years later.
    What if I had, would he have come back and we could have gotten help to save our marriage? He never gave me that chance. I would have done anything he asked to keep our family intact.The suffering of my children was the worst part of his desertion. I had no control over that, and the result was my desent into madness of a sort.I can only describe it this way : akin to being held down while forced to watch someone hurt you children.You would do anything to stop it. Sacrifice your health, your dignity, whatever it took to stop their pain. And when that fails, there's always denial. That worked for me for a time until acceptance slowly crept in and helped me carry on and attemp to heal. I'm at peace now...most days.