In keeping with the holiday spirit, this column focuses on gratitude, but I gotta say this one is a tough one to pen.
Before diving in, I must share that I recognize it’s not a topic which all readers may identify with and in the year 2019 it’s a topic which still makes many uncomfortable.
But then this space is rightfully dubbed “Mommy Musings” and just as all readers are not mommies, equally so probably more so than not are they “single” mommies.
Yet here I am and what I recognized on this Friday (the day I set to write this) before Thanksgiving, divorce is tough. For those uncomfortable with this topic or squirming because oh my, what might I share? We’ll catch you next issue.
This is not a day, nor a time where I intend to speak ill or poorly of the father of my children, quite the contrary.
But again, divorce is tough. It’s not just tough on the kids. It’s equally tough on the families, the friends and all who are regular pieces of the children’s lives. The reason? Simple. Sharing can be hard, yet it’s completely necessary.
Now in my eighth year post divorce from a man I spent 20, yes two zero, years married to, I can honestly say divorce just like marriage takes work. Just like marriage, in the beginning it requires a lot of growth. If you’re lucky and I mean really lucky – you learn to grow up a bit and in time return to being a grown up and not just for the sake of the children, but everyone involved.
So in this final column space of November gratitude I’m grateful for my children’s father, commonly known to the world as my “ex-husband.” Typing those last two words, actually causes this girl to cringe. I never speak of Kelly, my children’s father as my “ex.” For whatever reason, years ago I settled into the term “the kids dad/father” and I’ve never changed it.
Simply put, as a girl who lives her life penning words, I don’t like the connotation of the word “ex.” While, true, he is no longer my husband, he remains the father of my children and there is nothing “ex” about that role. As I remind myself as well as my family, through our children we are bonded for life. That bond very much requires us to not only be our best selves, but be adults – it’s really pretty simple.
We both had to grow to this place and thankfully we did. Divorce is tough.
I’ve never been one to publicly shame my children’s father. Just like in marriage, he doesn’t always make me happy (nor I him), that’s conversation reserved for my tribe. He is after all the father of my children, speaking ill in open company is disrespectful.
And so yes, in this gratitude column, I am grateful for Kelly.
First there’s the obvious, without the love we once shared, these two gems of humans would not be here and I truly can’t imagine my life without them. They have a healthy relationship with their father and family, I’m grateful for that as well.
But … divorce is tough.
This next bit of gratitude comes quite honestly with my eyes a bit damp. When this piece goes to print, my babies will be in Colorado. The state their father now calls home and where they travel to a number of times per year. This year is “his” Thanksgiving.
For the handful of readers who are still with me and the fewer who understand, you are not alone. Adulting can be tough and while some may find this topic depressing, I’m here to tell you the contrary.
Oh sure, I’m an emotional mess the days prior to my whole world climbing onto a plane. No different than the parent who drops their kids at college. The separation is hard, yet it’s necessary – for all of us.
As the primary parent, it allows me a chance to breathe, reflect and maybe visit a friend or two without worry on what the kids will do.
As testament to this, I recently grabbed a beer with another single mom friend. As we shared our holiday plans and the future visits to come, she simply stated “Goals.”
Confused, she shared how adult this all was of the two of us (Kelly and I). In honesty, I simply grinned and then quickly reflected … It was not always this way. Just as we did in marriage – in divorce we have grown up.
I’m grateful for the maturity we’ve come to. I’m grateful my children (unlike some) have a relationship with their father. And, if being completely transparent I’m grateful for the opportunity we all have to reconnect and recharge a bit for the blessings which we call “our life.” Happy Thanksgiving.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.