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.)