Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Post-Divorce Confessions

My son and I just had a “moment.”  I didn’t see it coming, and I’m waiting to see how it affects things around here.  Life has been getting pretty difficult most days, and a lot of that had to do with my son’s rebellion and anger, and as his mother, I could only form suspicions as to the cause, but I certainly didn’t know what to do about it.  I felt like I spent every single day yelling at him, and he just didn’t care.  At all.  He’d even tell me, multiple times per day, that he didn’t care.  And being the mother that I am, I saw this as a red flag that something was going on inside him, and since he’s a boy, he certainly wasn’t about to have a heart to heart with me about it.

I’ve also been a bit emotional myself lately, waking in the middle of the night and losing my patience with my kids over childish immaturity and mistakes.  I felt like I had become “the yeller” again, and what mom wants her kids to feel like she yells all the time???


Life is hard.  Parenting is harder.  And parenting after a divorce, in all honesty, feels like it’s too hard for even the best parent to manage well.  Sometimes, I’m happy if we survive the day.

It’s been almost 4 years since I left their dad and moved in with my parents.  2.5 years since the divorce.  If I’ve learned anything, and could give just one piece of advice to someone thinking of, or going through, a divorce it would be that it literally tears your heart in two, even more so the hearts of your babies, and even years later, when you think you should be “all better,” it still hurts.  It’s not always at the surface, thankfully, and most days we’re all doing just fine.  But every once in awhile, the pain resurfaces and upsets the calm and routine we had been living in.  If anyone ever tells you that someday you will be “over it,” they’ve never gone through a divorce, or they’re in denial over their emotions.  It’s like saying you’ll get over the death of a child.  You’ll never, ever be “over it,” but over the course of time, you’ll learn to live with the pain.

The best advice I was given, was to wait a minimum of a year from the date the divorce was finalized, before I even starting thinking about dating again.  Too often people rush into a new relationship, without grieving and healing from the previous one, and this can bring a whole lot of baggage into a new marriage.  My divorce was finalized a little over a year after we separated, and when my year was up after that, I had grown personally and spiritually more than I could have hoped for.  And I knew I still wasn’t ready to date.  I also knew God wasn’t done, and being the all-knowing God He is, He called me to another church, away from the comfortable surroundings of the church I had been at for 30 years.  It was scary, but I’m so glad listened, because I grew personally and spiritually even more.  About 6 months after the switch, I met someone, and we dated for about 10 months.  I ended it a couple weeks ago, after weeks of prayer and indecision.  He’s a great guy, and my kids love him.  It just never felt right.  And I’m now at a place where I wonder if any relationship will ever feel right.  I was lucky enough to marry the “man of my dreams.”  I fell for him when I was 13, and I thought for sure he hung the moon.  We married just days after my 22nd birthday, and have 4 of the most amazing kids I could ever hope for.  And although, as I’ve said, I left him…it was never for a lack of loving him or wanting to be his wife.  I prayed and prayed it would all work out in the end, but it didn’t, and I don’t blame God and I’m not angry.  Just sad and hurting on the bad days, and my heart breaks every single time I see the pain reflected in my babies. 

And that’s what brought me to that moment with my son, and the admittance of the pain he’s struggling with (and yes, I’m crying as I type.  Will it ever stop hurting us for good???)

He’s been angry and disrespectful a lot lately.  Like, rare is the moment when he’s not mad about something and completely uncooperative.  Today, he went up to his room, and “just because,” slammed his bedroom door over and over.   While a child was napping.  Ugh.

I was mad.  Really mad.  And my patience was already thin, since I fight with him every single day, all day long.  But God is good, and I didn’t yell at all.  I kept my cool, up until that moment when I said I hate that we’re always fighting, because I love him SO MUCH.  At that moment, I started crying, and then he started crying, and the tears just wouldn’t quit. 

His dad has been remarried for a year, and they’re expecting a baby in a couple months.  My son has his heart set on his dad and I remarrying, and this baby is one more nail in the coffin of that dream.  I have told him gently, but firmly, that we’re not getting back together, but he’s not quite 8 and it just hurts too much to accept.  So we just cried.   Together.  And separate.  And then together again.  He laid his head on my lap, and I stroked his hair and told him how much I love him.  And then I prayed, for him and me and his sisters and for all of us.  A divorce affects so many hearts and lives. 

He seems to temporarily be feeling better.  I’m sure we have a long way to go, and I have no idea what to expect when their baby arrives.  I’m hoping he’ll be more accepting when there’s a tiny little human to hold and kiss and love.  

And again, I’m so incredibly grateful for the Lord, because even on the worst days, when the emotions resurface and the pain is almost physical, He’s there.  He is ALWAYS there, bringing peace and hope and love.  I’m sure it’s because of the Lord, also, that the divorce was not one of those emotional wars, with kids caught in the middle.  My ex and I don’t agree on everything, but we get along pretty well, and are even able to co-homeschool our kids.  I school them on MTW & F, and he picks them up on Thursday mornings, spending the day with them, and completing that day’s work with them.  He has a huge part in their lives that he might not have had, even if we had stayed married.  He even rotates one on one with the kids every Tuesday, and it’s the highlight of their week, every time it’s their turn.  

I guess this post is just to get some of this out there.  I know I’m not the only one still trying to work their way through something difficult, and if we allow for transparency, maybe we’ll feel a little less alone.   And it’s where we’re at right now.  Summer is here in a few more weeks, and I’m definitely ready to take it easy and just enjoy my babies every day.  I have a whole list of fun things to do. 

I’ll share them when I find the piece of paper I wrote them on.  ;)