With Great Joy Comes Great Sorrow

In Divorce, Grief, Parenting by kimcaloca

Last year, I read this open letter to a stepmom and wrestled with all of my feelings about it.

First, I wanted to throat-punch the author.

Then, I wanted a relationship like that with “my” stepmom.

Finally, the despair of deep acceptance that I’ll never have that kind of relationship with my son’s stepmom.

The thing is, that’s only a problem if I make it a problem.

She’s great to my son (from what his 5-year-old vocabulary can articulate to me).

From what I can tell, she’s great to my ex.

But I think she would rather I didn’t exist. Hell, I know I’d rather SHE didn’t exist. Despite my having made the choice to split from my ex and being the one to file for divorce, I still often wander into a what-if-la-la-land of preference that the whole thing would have gone differently. That we would be that couple that sticks together no matter what.

Now that he’s remarried, she’s pregnant, and they’re selling the house I bought with him, I can confidently say we are not going to “find our way back” to each other. Sorry, Jeff (and everyone else who thought we were just going through a rough patch).

Let’s get out of la-la-land and visit reality for a minute. A reality in which I own a new car and 1/4 acre of property with the beginnings of a permaculture garden growing on it that already provides more food than my household can eat.

My son is a fantastically kind brilliant beautiful being.

I’ve been successfully fumbling through my transition from stay-at-home-mom to work-at-home-mom-entrepreneur.

Last year I traveled to 3 different countries.

I got to keep the dog.

But in spite of all of this, I still question myself. I still wonder if I did enough. Tried hard enough. Went through enough counseling sessions. Enough, enough, enough.

I like to think that if I didn’t have a child with him, I would be making a cleaner break. Saying good riddance to bad rubbish.

At least I wouldn’t have to see him 4-6 times per week if I hadn’t reproduced with him.

At least I wouldn’t have to grin and bear it when his new wife manages to do a complete custody exchange without so much as acknowledging me (apparently that whole ‘love your enemy’ thing doesn’t apply to your spouse’s ex-wife).

I don’t hate her.

But I certainly don’t love her. I’ve tried. I don’t even see it not being awkward to be in the same room with her (ever). And I hate that.

I hate that when I tagged my ex on Facebook in a video of my son singing a song that it prompted him to block me. I hate that when I tagged her in a post about blended families that that prompted her to block me.

I hate that we live like enemies while my son is forced to live in the abyss between us.

My son, the very best part of my life, is the tie that binds me to the most painful part of my life. My greatest joy is a nearly constant reminder of my greatest sorrow.

Sometimes, I just don’t know how to reconcile that.