Paying For My Freedom
After facing one of my biggest fears of my life so far, telling my children that their father and I were getting a divorce, I have seen and felt so many things I did not even know to consider beforehand. I believe that my experience is proof that these kinds of things can be done with love and grace, and don’t have to be the stereotypical battlefield that we fear experiencing. I tried a number of things. Speaking only positive words about their father, focusing on how this change will make things better, and on the fact that our love for them is unwavering and is forever, assuring their safety and that they are our priority, I somehow managed to come out of it without as many scars as most people predicted I would. I decided ahead of time that even if most other stories of this kind of conversation were of negative experiences, those stories belonged to other people. Not to me. Not to my children. Not to my family. I was determined to walk this out with peace, and allow only myself to only be guided by love.
I have been journaling every day – as my thoughts and feelings come to me – about how this unfolded and how life has looked through my eyes and my heart since the morning after. Below is the very first recounting of a moment that I am certain my two boys and I will never, ever, forget. A moment of tragedy, a moment of grief, and in hindsight, a moment of bonding:
As I started talking, all outside sounds disappeared one by one until we were alone in our own little world.
Our hearts began pounding.
Your eyes grew big.
The rise and fall of my chest made me dizzy.
The words rose from the bottom of my stomach
Strong and furious like a giant beanstalk
They traveled the exhausting distance
The long and impossible journey
And got lodged inside my throat
Yet fighting to be heard
When they finally pushed through
And I heard them tumble out
I couldn’t stop themAnd didn’t want to
I watched your innocent faces change
Little by little
With every word
And didn’t want to
You held onto me tightly with tiny arms around my neck
Sobbing and sweating in your fleece pajama monkey suit that I bought you when you got your last report card
Your sniffly nose burying deeper and deeper against the side of my neck just below my ear,
My hair spilling all over you and giving you the perfect hiding place
Your brother refusing to look at me
Refusing my touch
And staring at the floor
The hugest price I could ever pay for my freedom.
This price turned out to be worthy.
Within 10 minutes, my youngest son was looking past me towards his pizza, hungry, and clearly ready to get back to “pizza night.”
My teenager got up with his phone in hand, walked away, and went to his room. He shut the door. I was scared. I was nervous. I thought out loud, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should go after him or give him time. “ My youngest said, “Give him time.” I thought out loud, “I hope he will forgive me.” My youngest nodded and said, “he will.”
An hour or so later we were piled on the couch, laughing, and watching a sit-com. It was like the whole thing hadn’t happened. Yet it definitely had.
The most difficult conversation of my life turned out to be the best conversation of my life.
Because we walk lighter in truth.
We smile brighter in clarity.
And to quote my friend and inspirational writer, Jeff Brown
“We rise in unison.”
Jacqueline O’Leary Covert