It’s not mine to reconcile…

I Share My Thoughts with Love

A few nights ago, I had a conversation that made me think a lot about divorce and its effect on family relationships. It was a tough and teary talk with one of my kids; it was also very good – we talked about some pretty heavy “stuff.” I absolutely can’t and won’t share the details.

What I can, and will say is that divorce is tough on kids – no matter how old they are. The healing process takes time and sometimes lingers too long. From my point of view, this largely depends on how each parent handles it.

Just like any wound, the deeper the cut, the longer it takes to heal and the process hinges on how well the wound is cared for. In a divorce, a child’s healing is highly dependent on the actions of their parents.

Each person in the relationship has to own their actions and contributions to the breakdown of the marriage – it can’t be a blame game. Each parent has the opportunity, responsibility and privilege of continuing to nurture and develop a meaningful and positive relationship with their children.

I’m not a poet, but here are my thoughts after the conversation and listening to, and feeling the pain my child was experiencing as though it was my own.

I cannot fix it.
It’s not mine to fix.

I cannot resolve it.
It’s not my dispute.

I cannot heal it.
It’s not my wound.

I cannot forget it.
It’s my child that hurts.

It’s not mine to reconcile.
But I can listen and I can love.

I am here to
   love them 
  support them
  cry with them
  be angry with them
  laugh with them
  hold them close

We have a bond, my children and me.

We’ve made it through dark storms and into bright skies.

Sometimes grey clouds still cast a shadow over our light, but they won’t and don’t prevail.

We have a special bond, my children and me.

Don’t Throw Out the China

holiday table set with fine china

Divorce is hard. Even when it’s for the best it’s not an easy experience. It’s laden with “what if’s,” “should have’s” and “what do I do now’s.” This is my fourth Christmas as a single mom and tonight I’m more thankful than ever that I didn’t throw out the china.

Backing up just a bit, a little over three years ago Christian and I moved into my lovely artist’s vessel, aka home.

my lovely artist's house - the livingroom

We’d been living in an apartment that was one third of the size of the house we left behind. This meant that one third of our belongings were sold, a third was in storage, and the rest was in the apartment. Although I’m not so sure it was quite as evenly split as that.

After much angst we found a house to rent and it was time for the belongings that had been gathering dust in a storage container to meet the light of day. I scheduled the moving company to deliver the contents of the storage container and my parents volunteered to help me unpack.

surrounded by boxes

I won’t go into all of the details but suffice it to say it took me 322 days to unpack all of the boxes and turn my porch into a slice of summer.

finishing touches

Unpacking items I hadn’t seen or used in two years was almost as surreal as walking through my house and marking things with labels that designated the disposition of individual belongings as keep, sell/donate, or store.

My standard line for the day the storage arrived was, “I haven’t used it in two years so I don’t need it, put it in the donate pile.” Memories, both good and bad, poured out of each box I opened. Naively I thought the experience would be without emotion.

One of the most difficult moments was when I opened the box labeled “china.” I unpacked a dinner plate; memories of Thanksgivings, Christmases, and special occasions flooded my mind and pushed tears down my face.

Hoping no one had seen, I stood up and said, “I haven’t used it in two years, donate it.”

It’s an understatement to say I was irrational that day and if Christian hadn’t asked, “but Mom, what dishes will we use for special occasions?” – I would have thrown out the china.

For me the china represented the hope I had as a new bride and the disappointment that things didn’t turn out the way I had planned. For him the china represented family, traditions, happy times, and perhaps stability or familiarity.

Tonight he asked if he could set the table for dinner. We’d invited his girlfriend to join us for pre-holiday meal; he chose to use the china.

holiday table set with fine china

Thank goodness I didn’t throw it out.