Five years ago, I left the father of my children. The kids were ages 18, 15 and 12. It was very hard on everyone, but especially them. They were confused and angry and have wrestled with the many aspects of recovering from a broken home. Strangely, it was easiest on the youngest, hardest on the oldest… and right in the middle, is the girl. She felt the strong pangs of grief and upheaval the most acutely, but had the capability of working through the emotions a little better (with a lot of help from a supportive network of friends and family). She now feels like a stronger and greater person because of the adversity. All three kids have excellent spirits and solid characters. I’m sure they’ll bear the scars for life. But scars are things we all have to live with. The phrase, “He (or she) is a survivor,” is often heard. That’s no big accomplishment… because it’s true of just about everyone. We are created to survive, naturally. It’s surviving WELL that we’re after… that’s the gift that we admire. And, although I know my children to be overcomers, I’ve often thought perhaps I should have stuck it out in the marriage for their sakes. In fact, it was for their sakes that I stayed in it for eighteen years. And it was upon realizing that it was not helping anyone, least of all them, that I chose not to continue in it. So this thought keeps me from the large part of regret. But still, no one wants to know they are responsible for the pain their children feel. I knew it would be hard on everyone. All three of them knew that living with their father was killing me. They all understood that it was a no win situation. I have never sensed any resentment toward me from them… except from the oldest. He had decided to deal with the situation by calling his childhood “a lie.” You can imagine what that would do to a person. He has only spoken ill words to me a couple of times. But I’ve heard a few things here and there of things he’s said about me. Not to mention the things others have said about me. It’s been a long and terrible road. But it’s been a necessary one. And one that has brought immeasurable insight and freedom to us all. This we only know by the little glimpses of hope we see on the journey. You see, this oldest son is the one who recently had the privilege of becoming a father. He lives very close by, so I’ve been able to be actively involved in the whole experience. And, as luck would have it, he and the momma have been staying with me while their house is getting some improvements done. They’ve been with me for almost a month. It has been nothing but a pleasure. Last night, he said the smallest little statement to me… but it meant the whole world. We were discussing identity theft, or something to that effect. I mentioned that someone may have used my social security number but it was no big deal, because it’s not like I have a good name that they could ruin. And he looked squarely at me and said, “To me, you have a good name. To your children, you will always have a good name.” The moment passed quietly… uneventfully… but our hearts were stronger for the greatness of it. I know many have misunderstood and questioned and judged my actions, regarding the demise of that union. There really are no words that can justify such decisions. I can only say that, at the time, I knew my children to be like little birds that I had taught to fly. And now they were going to have to do that very thing. And I’d be here for them, if they ever wanted to know less about the earth and more about the sky. And they’d be here for me… as they were last night… in the loving words of that one man.
I shared the above composition with Jake, my oldest. He said he was quite touched and wanted to take me to dinner and talk about it. We went out saturday night and talked about many things, but the main thing he wanted to let me know is that he didn't mean those things he said... and that he doesn't feel like his childhood was "a lie." He said, "Mom, I had a good childhood, and the only reason it was good was because you were in it. You have been the good part of my life."
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