For the children
It’s a mini blip milestone for me today as this represents my 600th post!
It’s also World Photography Day!
I also had something of an epiphany/break through today!
This post gets a little personal and indeed, I thought long and hard about sharing it, but landed on two reasons for so doing:-
1) Self-interest - this is my form of therapy and already I feel better having raised and faced these hard truths.
2) Hope - maybe, just maybe this might wake someone before they sleep walk their way into making the same mistakes that I did.
Without further ado…
The sudden and unwanted solitude tends to hit home as you’re settling down for the night and as you’re waking up in the morning.
This tends to mean that your day starts badly, the middle part is usually fair to middling and the end, despite your best efforts doesn’t finish all that great either.
It’s a curious thing, because inside a marriage you find yourself crave some room or solitude: “I wish I just had a couple of hours to myself!” “Stop pulling the bed covers off!” “Please! Give me some space!” etc.
However, when you’ve been cut adrift and informed that your services are no longer required, these things, space etc. are no longer important because you have them in abundance and for the most part you don’t want them. You’re floating, lost, alone and directionless.
It used to drive me crazy in our former house (which only had a single bathroom) when the children would interrupt my morning shower: “Daddy! I need a poo!” or when they’d burst into our bedroom at bang-on 7am and wake us from a peaceful slumber. I’d start the day grumpy and irritable. Now, I’m almost disappointed if they don’t interrupt my morning ablutions when they’re with me and those early morning appearances? They’re manna from heaven. I want to be awake just before they come crashing in to make sure that I feel every bit of their hugs and kisses. It’s the best part of my day.
Sure, my soon-to-be-second-ex-wife (my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my confidant, my rock, “the reason for my continued existence” – thank you Johnny Cash) is a part of me that I can’t figure out how to extract, she’s in my bones, she’s the adamantium infused skeleton inside this failing Logan.
But my children, my maddening, wonderful, brilliant, frustrating, loving, caring, kind, funny children are an even deeper part of me. They are borne of my soul and they represent the very best parts of me I had to give, but I don’t get to see them every day now and I took it for granted every day that I could. This soul-stretch across the gaps in time between seeing them comes with a pain that is at times breath-taking and sadly, all too familiar (from a previous, self-inflicted distancing).
In times of life changing events, there is an abundance of advice surrounding acceptance, adaptation and planning for the future. Frustratingly, and perhaps understandably, there is very little insight regarding a recommended patchwork repair system of the soul.
The one thing the newly acquired time has given me is the space for reflection on where I went wrong with my marriage and I think I’ve narrowed it down to the following:
1) I loved my wife too much
2) I crushed her with the weight of my expectations of her
3) I didn’t show any of my children enough love, time and understanding
4) They have never had the best of me
These are hard truths to accept, but they are truths and I must accept the fact that ship has sailed on 1 & 2, but 3 &4, hopefully I can persuade them to remain on the mainland.
I need to give the best bits of me to my children, because they need and deserve it the most and yes, I know that this is what I should have been doing all along, but unfortunately fatherhood hasn’t come as naturally to me as I might have hoped or expected (our social media photos don’t tend to reflect work pressures, irritability, grumpiness, frustration or anger) and moreover, your honour, in the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh “I am a Bear of Very Little brain”.
However, if I can work hard enough now to release some of the tension on that damaged bond then my hope is that this will prove to be the salve to soothe the aching soul.
I won’t know until I try, and whilst it’s something of an embuggerment to have come to this realisation as the aforementioned ship merrily disappears off into the distance, I’m looking forward to moving forward and striving to become the father that all of my children need and deserve.