January 9, 2008

I know of at least two couples currently separated and heading toward divorce. I don’t know (nor do I want to know) the particular circumstances of why they are separated, who wronged whom, etc. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think that it really matters.

Last night one of the separated women asked me what my divorce experience was like. I told her that when I was separated, Trevor was only one year old, and that I did not have a relationship with Christ. As a result, I lived off of anger, vodka, and cigarettes for a time. I explained that mine was what some people euphemistically call a “messy divorce” — meaning that I experienced hatred and bitterness and vengefulness to a degree I had previously thought impossible. It was a very dark time for me.

She, in stark contrast to me circa 1995, was all sunshine and happiness. She told me how her kids seemed to be perfectly okay with the fact that one of their parents no longer lives at home, how they are showing no emotional distress, counseling is going well, etc.

Time constraints and my inability to quickly translate my thoughts into spoken words prevented me from responding in the way I would have liked.

I wish I’d told her that being a single parent is the hardest job in the world. Human beings are biologically designed so that it takes two people to create a baby. There’s a reason for that, IMHO, and it’s quite simple: it takes two people to raise children. It’s not a job that is intended for one person to undertake. When I look back on my years of single parenthood, I can sum it up in two words: not enough. Not enough money, not enough space in our tiny apartment, not enough sleep, not enough time for me to relax, not enough time in which I could give Trevor my undivided attention. Not enough. Why? Because I was trying to do the job of two people.

I wish I’d told her that the reason her kids “seem okay” with the current situation is probably because either (a) they are still clinging to hope that their family life will return to normal or (b) they don’t want to add to any stress/anxiety that either of their parents may be feeling.

I wish I’d told her that no child ever fully accepts or recovers from the divorce of his/her parents. I was 20 when my own parents divorced, and I still have issues as a result. Not in an emotionally-scarred-and-in-need-of-counseling kind of way, but in the same sort of way that you never fully get over the death of someone you love.

I wish I could just have ONE celebration for birthdays/holidays instead of two. I wish my children had stereotypical grandparents who spent evenings together watching TV in their matching armchairs… not grandparents who have a hot social life because they’re dating again. I wish I could remember more of my own childhood, but most of it has vanished from my memory because either I’m blocking it or it’s just faded over time because no one talks about those years when we were all together and happy.

    I know that she wants to think everything is peachy keen and that forging ahead with a divorce is the best thing for everyone involved. But it can’t be, because the truth of the matter is that everyone loses in a divorce. Especially the kids, who have no choice in the matter.


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