Emotional Integrity

Worth every penny you pay for it. I lived for years without it. Didn't even realize I was doing so. It's kinda like being sick, but not knowing how very sick you are. Until you're well again. All those years of telling myself I was staying for the sake of the children. And I wasn't lying to myself. I really believed it was doing them good. At some point, the discomfort of the comfort of having things stay the same became too great to pretend away any more. So I had to go. After 18 years of a bad marriage, I finally walked out. It devastated the children. I don't believe there is any way to dissolve your marriage without devastating them. I don't care what "ideal circumstances" you come up with. But these seven years later, it's clear to me that the only thing to regret about the whole thing is that I didn't leave sooner. The children learned a much greater thing in seeing the end of that wretched union. They learned the difference between a home of darkness and pretense and a home of truth and light. There was a false sense of security that they didn't much like doing without at first, but when they came to know what REAL security stands on they were the much better for it. It all cost a great deal of pain, but every one of us wound up with the prize of emotional integrity.

I had the wonderful privilege of having dinner last weekend with my beautiful and vibrant daughter Erin (along with my visiting niece, Graci). Graci wants to leave Utah and go SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE. She loved being here with us so much and even said she wanted to stay without going back home to pack up for the move! She hemmed and hawed about needing a job, etc. I told her, "When I came here, I had nothing... when Erin came here, she had nothing... and we've both had nothing several times since! But we'd rather starve in southern California than thrive anywhere else! You just have to decide to do it... and go... or you never will!" My daughter then interjected with a very serious look... she turned to me and said, "Mom, I know many people have criticized you for the methods you've chosen in child rearing and for some of the choices you've made, but I need you to know, that it's only because of the way you've loved me no matter what... no matter what kind of a shithead I am... that I have had the strength to do the sort of thing you're talking about. You have always made me feel beautiful and loved and important and strong and it's your belief in me that keeps me going." A mother can't ask for greater words. All three of my children have said things like this to me. After all the struggling and striving I went through, not knowing if it had been a mistake to leave their father... to find that they love me and admire me, even through my greatest weakness, was the great treasure I didn't even know I would find. I heard a phrase yesterday that I asked my youngest son about this morning. He was almost twelve when his dad and I got divorced. He's eighteen now. I said that I heard children would much rather be from a broken home than to live in one. He said, "That's true, mom... I most definitely agree. And have I told you today that I love you?" (Of course he had, he tells me all the time.)


Becka said...

ok...as if i didn't feel enough like shit before... now i'm on the verge of tears sitting here at my desk in my office. i don't know what to do!!!!!! i wish everything could be so cut and dry that there would be no gray matter.
this was something i needed to read/hear. i know that is partly why u posted it. if i could reach you i would hug you....and cry. and i know u would let me. cause we're good like that.
love u t.

Chuggy said...

Very nice thoughts and comments. I did the same over 8 years ago and was so afraid of ruining my kid's lives. After the dust settled the kids actually commented on how much happier they are now and that what happened was actually a good thing. The kids have grown up since then(graduating) and moving on. I appreciate your leaving a comment on my blog as well and look forward reading more from you. Hope you dont mind if i link to you. Thanks again, Chuggy.

Gary said...

This is a very thoughtful post. I have seen the hurt that kids go through because of divorce. I don't blame parents though. Nobody gets married and has kids with the idea that they are going to get divorced.

You did the best you could for your kids, and it sounds to me like you did a good job. You deserve whatever good comes from that.

Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog.

Mindless Dribbler said...

Geeez, you had to have loved that Teri. When your kid compliments you the way your daughter did....

Great site and I enjoyed the read!

Rainbow-Bright said...

Great post Girl! Becka told me how wonderful you are and now call me a faithful follower as well.

This post tells where I am sitting right now...more than 6 months separated, scared to death to file the papers to end the suffering for all of us.

You really gave me food for thought, THANKS!