So, I’m walking home today and thinking about Christmas traditions and how we as a family have so few of them and it suddenly dawned on me that I had actually destroyed my family when I left my ex.
I feel like an idiot. I hadn’t actually realized that before. Well, I had, but not in such detail.
I destroyed the family traditions, such as they were, destroyed the extended family, messed up the getting together for everyone.
I mean, I knew I was wreaking havoc when I left, but the kids were grown up, pretty well. I thought they’d be okay, and though I still care about and respect my ex, I wasn’t as concerned about him for a variety of reasons.
And I suppose I shoulda realized the eddies of my decision to save myself. But at first, the relief I felt at my escape was so huge, and then I had to deal with the MS thing, and the depression thing and I thought, maybe, we were okay with separate holidays and traditions as we weren’t that into Christmas and all that. Everyone SEEMED okay.
As I watch the families getting together for the holidays, the joy expressed by parents on FB, the happiness I hear about and remember when we were all together, I wonder. I wonder how the kids felt when I left. Did they feel gutted? Did they feel there was nothing left? Did I inadvertently cast them out onto the sea of isolation without meaning to?
They never spoke much about it. We explained everything calmly. We didn’t yell and fight over things. We co-wrote our separation agreement and all was civilized, but the kids were quiet. I should perhaps have pried more.
A few years ago, one said, “I understand that you two are better off on your own.” Which makes me wonder if they thought I left singing and happy and destroyed their home life just out of selfishness, gaily stabbing my ex on the way out the door.
In a way, I guess I did. I couldn’t stay, though. It was not possible. I never dreamed I’d get divorced – but I somehow married the wrong fellow, and it wasn’t sustainable after the heavy work of raising children was done. It hadn’t been warm and friendly for over ten years, and in a way I knew it was over when he dropped me home with my brand new firstborn and went back to work. No fault to him or me – just our mutual differences were too much to take. And by the time I left, neither of us were willing to put in the 100% needed to save things.
And in the midst of that life change, I tore much apart. At this time of year, I can’t help but wonder where we’d be if I hadn’t.
I’m so sorry, kids. In all of the things I’ve done, I’ve always wanted to spare you hurt. But I guess I still did.
And it only took me ten years to realize it. Forgive me…