For many years my kids have grown up without their Papa in their lives. I never understood it. But I was hurt, frustrated and angry that he chose to stay away.
Recently though, Papa hired an attorney to seek some port of re-entry into our kid’s lives. Due to Zion’s autism I felt Papa needed extensive training on how to handle him. I battened down the batches, hired a law firm, and formulated my best force-field of protection around myself and my kids.
There’s one problem with this. I never actually spoke directly to Papa before the mediation. I did attempt to call him one time, but his cell phone number changed so I didn’t push it any further.
But I know where he lives.
I could have driven over there.
But I was so busy trying to defend and protect and be right, that I never took the time to just drive over to his house and sit down and have a conversation and understand.
About a week before our mediation was scheduled, I read a blog about softening. (Click here to read it. Thank you, Katrina.)
It really spoke to me.
I realized that in a lot of ways I have developed a hard shell around me.
And not the good, candy-coated kind.
I flashed back several years to the time periods when Papa and I were in constant disagreement, and all I could remember was bickering and arguing.
Money money money.
Eventually it occurred to me, that every time Papa had evanesced from the kid’s lives, it was after a disagreement with me about money.
That was a painful realization.
So I had to take a cold, hard look at myself and own up to the fact that perhaps Papa wasn’t coming over to visit anymore because he didn’t want to deal with me.
Constantly yapping about insurance premiums and copays and deductibles.
Moreover, I had to get real with myself and realize that if I had driven my kids further apart from their Papa because of my own hurt and pain from the divorce, and was using money to do it, then I had to change that.
Now sure, I may still get burned. My kids may get disappointed yet again. But that can’t keep me from trying.
And teaching said lessons to my children.
I decided to create some reasonable standards for our new healing relationship.
- I will never, ever bicker about money. Ever.
- I will set some ground rules, and as long as Papa shows up to be a father, I will let him.
- I will allow him to gradually prove himself to our kids, foster that relationship as much as I can, and then just stay out of the damned way.
- I will make the choice to stop the eye-rolling, and the snide comments, and the grudge-holding, even to my girlfriends.
- I will change my attitude, and be loving…even when I don’t want to.
- I will remind myself to let go of the hurt I have from when he was my husband, and encourage him to learn to be a father.
- I will remember every day that I can’t change him. I can only change me.
So far things are going well.
Today he will come to my house for his third Sunday reacquainting lunch. The kids are so blissfully happy about it.
Last Sunday after he left, Zion must have said 132 times, “I have lunch with my Papa!”
Is it difficult?
Insanely. I have cried more tears over this than I care to count.
But it is difficult for me, not for my kids.
And ultimately, it is their happiness I am seeking.
Everything else is just a lesson.
And are those lessons worth it?
You tell me: