Jun 22, 2009

Yup, sure enough — divorce sucks.

In my last post (depressing!), I believe I promised a rant about divorce. I haven't delivered, because my heart isn't in it. In my experience, there just hasn't been enough drama to perpetuate my self-pity party. There have been logistical hurdles in our lives, sure, but most of those have been a product of the economy. Trying to sell a house and find a job in a recession isn't supposed to be easy, and it's not terribly imaginative to complain about what so many others are experiencing. I could have lived without the legal complications surrounding the sale of our house (ongoing, by the way), but the anger and frustration I felt earlier on sort of sucked the joy out of settling into a new home, and discovering what positive changes this different path might bring.

Divorce, at its worst, is a failure, a broken promise that hurts everyone involved. At its best, it's two people who have worked like crazy to live peacefully together but have decided it's best to move on. At no point have I experienced some huge wave of relief, or thought, "Woo hoo, I'm FREE!" At the other end of the spectrum, I haven't regretted our decision or felt the stigma I anticipated at being divorced. Yes, it's a painful process, and I'm aware that I made a lot of mistakes over the last eighteen years, but I'm doing what I can now to stop the pain, and to right some of the wrongs.

Then there's Grace. Would she be better off living with both of us in a happy marriage? Of course she would. She was always happiest when all three of us were together; she doesn't have that anymore and she clearly struggles with it. But people told us, "If you're going to do it, do it now," because even very young children pick up on tension between their parents, but they will likely adjust more easily to new living arrangements than older kids will. And while older kids may not give a rip whether Mommy and Daddy are happy, they can't help but react to a stressful home environment, and that reaction is generally one of fear. I think we chose the lesser of two evils, because that first idyllic scenario wasn't going to happen. I hope I haven't made a mess of my life's most important undertaking, parenting. Unhappy couples who choose to stay together for the sake of their children have a difficult time ahead of them, and I wish them luck. Me? I think we're going to be okay. I'm going to try to stop second-guessing the decision we made. At least for the next hour or so.


Girlbert said...

No regrets. I try to live by it, but it's easier said than done.

I'm not going to pretend that I have any insight whatsover into divorce involving children, but do what's right for yourself, and it will be the right thing for your family. Because you can't help anybody if you're not taking care of you. And kids are tough - we think we're here to teach them, but they're really here to teach us.

Sorry if my non-parental status offends...

Keeping working through it, sister, I know I am! And promise to let me know if and how you ever get to the "Woo hoo, I'm FREE!" part.


Edward J. Hermanson said...

Your writing is getting really good Laurel. I hear a distinctly richer more mature voice now. This may be my favorite thing you have ever written. It helps ME to deal with your divorce. I was really worried about you and Grace Lilly at first but you definately made the right choice and Mike is a great guy.