I have always told myself I would put up with anything to keep my boys from being products of a broken home. But, here I am sitting in a house with empty bedrooms and deafening silence while my boys are spending the night at their dads. I did exactly what I told myself I wouldn't when I brought the boys into the world, I made them children of divorce.
I, myself, was a child who grew up in a broken home; always spending holidays bouncing around between homes. I would spend weekends carrying my belongings back and forth, and nights where I never really felt like I belonged with this family that was sitting down to dinner with their own routines. I survived it, grew into a well rounded person and looking back I really don't feel any lasting effects. But, I have the memories and the feelings of being split in two and listening to parents talk about and the other and it was not fun.
Researching studies and statistics, I always read how resilient divorce makes the children. And, maybe that is why I have lived through the turmoil I have and came out a happy and, for the most part, sane individual. But, I just never wanted my boys to have to live their lives between two homes.
BUT, life sometimes throws you a curve ball or twenty and you have to make decisions that are best for your children. During the initial split, I did what I could to shield the boys from the drama and chaos that was happening around them, but I know they knew what was happening. The day I told them was incredibly hard, and I tried my best to hold it together but I was so scared and felt guilty for what their life was going to be like. I felt like I had failed.
Fast forward a year later and the dust has finally started to settle. There are weeks and months where co-parenting goes seamless, the schedules sync up and there is peace. The are, no matter how hard I try though, times when old wounds bust open and their dad and I are back to the volatile conversations that were commonplace before. But, I see a rainbow through the storm. I can slowly see the rhythm that is developing and the happiness that has seeped out of the war-zone that was their previous life. Finally, at the end of a year with more tears shed and more changes than our lives have had, there is happiness and discovery. I have discovered so many things about myself and my children that I would have never known if not for this past year.
Now I know, I am not alone. I no longer have to parent and do everything on my own. Because of the divorce the boys have a father who is involved and a part of their lives more than ever before. No matter how bad things were before and can be, loving those boys is something we agree on.
I am a better parent. I appreciate the days they are home and I spend those days making the time with them count. I don't say maybe later or I'm busy, instead we have conversations and adventures because the time with them is precious.
There is laughter and stability. The boys now have a home where there is kind words and laughter. They see love everyday and it shows in the way they behave.
There are no more tears and angry words. The fights are over and the boys never again have to comfort their mom after a knock down drag out fight with their dad. Those memories can fade away and hopeful be replaced with new happy ones.
I have stopped sweating the small stuff. I have realized what matters in my life and what doesn't. The unimportant things and stuff beyond my control I don't worry about anymore.
I have found my strength. Before the divorce, I was meek and had no fight left in me. After the marriage apocalypse, I am strong, I have a voice and I am not afraid.
I'm not saying divorce is a good thing, because after this past year and everything I have been through it is one of the hardest things I have endured. Divorce has created scars that will run deep and maybe never even heal but at the end of all the darkness, there is light. The boys are happy and loved and I have learned that no matter how hard we try as parents, we sometimes fall short. We can't protect them from every situation and every hurt, but we can do what's best for them. That's what I did and what I continue to do. I made the decision knowing it was going to be hard, but staying in a volatile and hateful home would have been worse. So, I will continue to love them and fight for them. I will continue to teach them love and hopefully raise two good men who are capable and compassionate. I have put the past behind me and relieved my old life is behind me. I hope with time, the bad memories fade but until they do, I will focus on making new ones. For the first time, I am excited for the future.