It was the worst day of my life. The day I packed up my children, a few boxes of belongings and drove away from our family home for good. I never imagined that ‘divorce’ would be part of our story, but despite our best efforts, it was happening to us.
I knew that eventually the two of us would be alright. But my heart broke for our children. Would they grow up dysfunctional? Had we stolen from their future? In those first few nights, when their little eyes would look to me for reassurance, I tried to explain their crumbling world by saying:
Our family is not broken. We live across two homes, but our family is still complete.
People often throw around the phrase that ‘they would do anything for their children’. But there are very few times in our lives where we genuinely have the chance to prove it. I’ve watched divorces drag on for years- the bitterness becoming worse than the marriage ever was.
I made a commitment early on, that no matter what the personal cost, I would do everything in my power to bring our hurting family some peace. Forget about fair. It’s a divorce. If everything had been ‘fair’, you’d probably still be together. Finding peace is a far greater cause than ‘finding fair’.
Some things that helped me:
- I had to stop looking at my ex, as my ex. It only brings all the focus to the past. He is the father of my children. The focus is on the future.
- I had to stop making lists of the things he was doing wrong and start building lists of all the things he was doing right.
- Realising that: You don’t need to be treated well, to treat someone well. Compassion and kindness, over time- will eventually triumph.
It wasn’t pretty for many years. We both behaved like idiots for a while… until we eventually came through with our promise to love our children more, than we disliked each other.
The other night I was putting the boys to bed, when their father rang. I decided to put him on speaker so we could say goodnight to the kids together. I went from bed to bed, until we got to our eldest son- now nearly 12.
When he was a baby, his father and I used to sing him to sleep with a silly version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Same melody, but muddled words. For some reason, with his father on speaker, we decided to sing the song again. So there we were, laughing through the terrible lyrics, singing our eldest son to sleep… nearly 7 years since we tucked him in together.
Families come in many shapes. I guess this is ours now. I didn’t show it, but I was so moved by the simple moment. Greater than all the hurt and pain, has been our love for our children. We would have done anything for our boys; and we did.
I think they’ll be alright.