I was having a conversation with a friend this morning and we were talking about big upcoming events in the lives of our children. Boy 2 has a school event coming up, Girl is graduating from high school…BIG events.
Girl has had some major struggles with this divorce. She was put in the middle for a little while, then, when we got our heads out of asses that way, she began to insert herself where there was conflict, sometimes creating conflict when there was none. I think conflict was her comfort zone…even if her parents were fighting, at least they were talking. If they were fighting because of her, then that meant they were paying attention to her.
My relationship with her is very unique. We have always been extremely close. When we argue though…small nations shake with fear. We are loud, we are emotional, we always say we are sorry.
Through this divorce though, our relationship has taken on a new dynamic. She is extremely close with my ex-husband who is not her biological father. She has deep seeded abandonment issues surrounding her biological father. Her Issues lead her to lash out towards me when she is angry with him. This has led to her to push me away from her in a twisted attempt to show her allegiance to him. Due to her age and the current situation I am following her request. I have backed away.
When she reaches out, I reach back. Each time my hand gets bitten. So now, with guidance from professionals I am no longer reaching my hand out to get bit again. She is also learning some real big life lessons right now abut relationships and to be careful how hard you push people away as they may not come back at all. We have had this discussion MULTIPLE times in the office of her psychologist and deep down she understands it.
I am not attending her prom (as per her request) and my ‘mom heart’ aches like you couldn’t even imagine. I continue to look at the big picture, but it not easy. I see before me, a little girl who, when the time comes and she sees all the other girls with their mom’s, is going to be broken. I see a young woman who, when she graduates will wonder if I even care…or if this can even be fixed.
Of COURSE it can. My love for my kids will never stop…just as I’m so glad my mom’s never did for me. I’ve been that mad, angry teenager. I’ve felt alone with nowhere to go. I lashed out at my mom…I understand.
In a few years my ex may be able to see the damage he’s caused and the lives he is destroying…I just hope that the kids don’t end up hating him for it. My eight year old should NEVER have to be taught by the school counselor that it’s okay to say, “Dad, when you talk about Mom like that it hurts my feelings.” No child should ever need to use those words. His job is to be a kid…just a kid, not my protector. No child should EVER have to pledge allegiance to one parent or the other…by saying these things to his dad, he is pledging allegiance to me, if he doesn’t, he is pledging it to his dad. Why the hell should ANY kid, eight or nearly 18 be forced to choose? How big does your ego have to be to make a child choose you over the person you made them with? The person you, at least for some time, loved deeply enough to want to spend the rest of your life with, who you loved so much you wanted to bound to forever through children. I don’t get it.
I get the boys this weekend and cannot wait to spend some good time with them…we need it. The next time they visit I should be in my apartment. That will be super exciting. I am trying to decide between an air mattress or camp cots for their beds…I think I will let them decide. It will be a great ‘budget’ lesson as well. We started the ‘wants and needs’ conversation a while ago, now we can build on it…and with the proper guidance it can be so much fun.
I will set a ‘budget’ for new beds/blankets/etc and then let them browse through stores, take notes for them on prices…maybe take them to a consignment shop or two, a thrift store…they can learn how far their money can really go. And then, with whatever they have left over, that can go towards a vacation fund or an X-box fund. They are great negotiators. Yesterday when Boy 1 and I were in with the school counselor he said he was already thinking about the summer and that he was thinking that he would stay with me for one week and dad for one week during his summer vacation. I told him that was a great idea and that I would also propose that.
I am so very proud of my kids. In the midst of turmoil and chaos, they continue to make me so very proud to be their mom.