I haven’t written in a while since the last post I put out there was met with a bit of a backlash from some. So I needed to take a timeout to revisit the reasons why I decided to do this in the first place and to also get clear on what I am not trying to accomplish with this journey I’ve found myself traveling.
First, what I don’t expect these writings to accomplish…
I DO NOT expect my accounts to be met with full agreement from others who were part of these experiences. I said at the beginning that I am presenting my perspective and that I fully expect my ex, my son, or others to remember these events and how they felt about them differently. Of course they will. They are not me and while we all know each other well, we all own our personal reaction to the events in our lives. So I am NOT shocked to get a response of “That’s not how it went at all” from anyone at any time. What I did not expect was to provoke genuinely new anger or sadness toward me from anyone for events that took place 17 years ago. Why do that? I certainly can’t change any decisions I made back then now even if I wanted to. So I guess when Ian and a few of my friends referred to me as brave for doing this blog, now I kind of get what they were talking about.
As for the desire to relive painful events from the past, it’s not that I want to do that but it is not something I can worry about either. I have a mission to accomplish. I’ve cried enough tears for shit that happened a long time ago and it hasn’t changed any of it. So how about let’s just take account of the lessons we learned, recognize that some of what we chose worked out pretty well, share our experience with the world, and move on with it.
I am not writing this blog to suggest that this way of doing things is the right way or even a good way of handling anything. It was just our way and as a result, I have a well-adjusted son that feels he had a happy childhood in which both parents were involved and loved him. I also have an ex-spouse, ex-in-laws, and even his new wife and many of his friends to call my friends too. So even if some of us saw things differently, we stuck with it and ended up on the good side of the equation overall.
As I write about certain topics, I seek to evoke in my reader the emotion that I felt at that time. But to get there, I do more than call upon one experience in my life. When I write about the emotions that surround a particular event, I’m not necessarily drawing up how I felt in any one moment with any single person but rather I draw upon my collective experience with that emotion – all the times I’ve felt love, happiness, pain, or sorrow. In fact, I might even draw upon imagery of love stories from movies I’ve watched to describe to you the reader the emotional depth that I hope you will feel as you read a certain passage. So not everything I write is a purely literal account of what happened or what I felt in any given moment. Hopefully this serves to allay any discomfort some feel as they read events to which they were close in those days.
So again, why am I doing this? I’m sharing our story, or at least my version of our story, because this is important. Raising a child is a big responsibility. And we as parents will leave our mark on this world through our kids – good or bad. If you hope to contribute to the greater good, raise a responsible, kind, and caring human being. Just because a marriage ends doesn’t let you off the hook. If your child treats people with disrespect or anger, no one is going to give them a pass because their parents got divorced. If your kid doesn’t have a childhood on which they can look back and reflect fondly, you don’t get a do-over because you handled a divorce situations badly. But if you handle it well, you may still end up with a child who has happy memories to reflect on. If your kid has a failed marriage in which children are involved and doesn’t manage to maintain a good relationship with his ex-spouse or children, that may not be your fault. But you will know you did what you could and didn’t leave him or her to guess what that would look like.
Parenting is tough. Divorced-parenting may be tougher. I’m not really sure. And being a single parent or remarried parent certainly complicates the already difficult task of raising a child. So I feel that the more we can learn from each other, the better. What works for one may or may not work for another. But sometimes just the act of thinking about something from a different perspective brings about new ideas one might have never thought of otherwise.
Am I brave? I don’t really know. But one thing is for sure. In the face of some pretty hurtful criticism, I’m going to forge ahead to share this story. It is just too needed in this world to go untold.