I thought walking away from my marriage was one of the hardest thing I would ever do in my life. I realize, now, that moving on is even harder when you know that you will spend the rest of child’s life tied to the person you are walking away from. There is no out. There is no off switch. You can’t ignore it. You can’t get away from it. You just have to deal with it.
Why? Because, in the midst of my chaos is a sweet, small boy that deserves to have both his parents in his life. He deserves for us to both be there to support him at school, in sports and in life. It is not fair to throw the burdens of our adult choices on a child. He did not cause this, he only prolonged the inevitable. If not for that small boy, a little over two years ago, I would have dropped my husband off at rehab and changed the locks but my child deserved more. I owed it to him to try to save our family and I did. Maybe, a little too long.
I don’t think I have ever, really, recovered from the damage done to my heart by alcoholism. All the long, ugly nights. All the tears. All the anger. All the fights. God and I have spent many long nights together. I prayed for my husband. I prayed for us. I prayed for my sweet, small boy stuck in the middle of this. I prayed for wisdom and grace. I prayed to find forgiveness in my heart. And finally, I came to the realization that the only way, I would ever forgive this man, was to not be with him.
Through those alcoholic years and the recovery that followed, I lost so much of who I was. I lost my will to fight for what I wanted. I lost my friends. I lost me and somewhere, under that parachute, I needed to find a way to dig out. (Read about my parachute here.) My father’s death was a wake up call. (Read about my Dad here.) A big, terrible, gut wrenching, soul crushing reminder that you only have one chance to live your best life and I was not doing that. I wasn’t living, I was surviving.
I was working and parenting and going through the motion just hoping to make it to the next day or the next week. I was weighed down and I couldn’t pull myself back up. And the more I tried, the further I was sinking. I needed to run away from it all but I didn’t run because of the small boy. What I wouldn’t do for him. My sweet, small boy.
So, I stayed. And I tried to move forward and I tried to forgive. But every time I tried, something pulled me right back to those days years ago and I just never got there. He never really let me. There was always something. It has taken me nearly four months of being separated from my husband for me to finally forgive him. To finally let go of the resentment. What a weight to be lifted off my shoulders. I, no longer, carry his burden.
Here’s the thing, I forgive him. He is a good father but he was not a good husband. There, I said it. I am sure someone is calling me names for saying it, but it is, what it is. The father in him is what made me try to make it work. I realize now, that somewhere during the alcoholism, I fell out of love with him and my heart was never going to let me go back. He changed and I didn’t enjoy the man he was becoming.
There is no off switch. He can grow and change and revamp himself but a part of me will never be able to look at him without seeing the ugly side of those years. It’s like the surgery scar on my knee. It was years past and it has healed, but everytime I look at it, I remember how painful it was. It’s been poked and prodded and stitched up and it will never be quite the same. That’s how I felt, I had been poked and prodded and stitched up and I couldn’t get back to who I was. I couldn’t do it with the doctor standing over me with the scalpel, not knowing when he would cut me open again.
I needed to get away. Far away from the knife, from that room, from that man but the scars will always be there because the small boy will only let me go so far. There is always a reminder. There is always a bad memory. There will always be residual pain that will never go away. So, here I am broken and stitched up and 45 and single. And I can only run so far.
So, I have stopped running, it hurts my knee. I am staying put and holding my ground. Although, a bit shaky sometimes, it is my ground to stand on. I will no longer let him take anything from me. I choose my own happiness and as much as I want a friendship with my child’s father, right now, distance is better.
My life would be so much easier if I could press a button and never hear from or talk to him again, but I can’t. He wants to be in his child’s life and that is what is best for the small boy. Man, it’s hard. Until you step away and start working on yourself, you do not realize the extent of the damage someone has done and continues to do to you. I have punitive damage, there is no denying it.
I have kept the the nitty, gritty details of the end of my marriage vague so that I didn’t damage my child’s father. I have not spoke poorly about him. I have not made jokes at his expense but man, have I wanted to. I won’t because there is an innocent small boy involved. He deserves his parents to act with dignity and respect. He deserves to have a little bit of privacy, but it’s easier to write about my issues then it is so address them because conflict is unhealthy and will not allow me to heal. My therapist says writing is healthy and so I will.
I will write when I want to run. I will write when I can’t sleep. I will write when I need an outlet. I will write and hope that you see my beautiful mess and realize that if I can keep going, so can you.
I write for you, I write for me, I write for the small boy. I am better when I write. I can’t run away. I can’t turn it off and so I will write and I will remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let like dull your shine.
The Manicured Mom