Memorable moments are part of being a family. Moments you wish you could forget are sometimes part of divorce.
Memorable moments for parents include the details of the day their children were born. For those who divorce, there’s another day—equally vivid, that is much different—that etches into memory: the moment when they tell their children their mother and father are splitting up. This is the day I wish I could forget. The one day in my life when I wish I was not an adult and not have to face reality. The reality that I would not put my children to bed each night. The reality that my most favorite part of the day, bedtime, would now occur only 3-4 nights per week. All because my husband and I were divorcing.
We read the divorce books on how to tell your children. Somehow, I knew that no matter what words we used, our 6 year-old son and 5 year-old daughter would never fully understand. How could they. I am in my 30’s, an accomplished attorney and my soon to be ex-husband is a highly successful stock broker and we did not understand. Yet, we were trying to explain to our innocent children how we would all be better off. That everyone would be happier if mommy and daddy lived in two homes. I remember sitting down to tell them and thinking this is something that other parents do. This is not what I wanted for my life. Not what I wanted for my marriage. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED FOR MY CHILDREN! Yet, we still sat down. As a family. As we began our well rehearsed speech I knew this would be a memorable moment in their life. Not memorable in a good way like the fun family days we experienced in their short lives…but a day that will be described as “I remember when mommy and daddy told us they were getting a divorce” day. A day that would forever change their life, their innocence and probably their security. We said all the right things. “Mommy and daddy love you very much.” “This is NOT YOUR fault.” “Sometimes mommy and daddy need to be apart to be happy.” All of our words sounded so empty. So very cliche. So not what I wanted for my life. Definitely not what I wanted for my children!
We used a calendar to show how they would stay with both of us. That each of them could have friends over when ever they wanted. I recall saying the words “it will be just like it is now.” The look on my son’s face was one of confusion. My daughter cried. I wanted to say ‘this will not be what we have now’. Because now, we have one home. Now, we see each other at night before we go to sleep. Now, we wake up to each other and have breakfast together. On weekends by husband makes pancakes. We go to the park together. We visit grandma and grandpa on Sunday. Together. As a family. Now, things are going to be totally different.
Now, one parent will not be there at night. Now, we will have different weekends. Now, they will have pancakes every other weekend. Now, we will visit one set of grandparents on Sunday with one parent. The other set of grandparents with the other parent the next weekend. Now, things are very different.
Now, is something that we are still trying to adjust to. Now is a time that includes the memorable moments of before. Before the divorce. Before the talk. Before, now includes the moment that I wish we could all forget. The unmemorable moment when we told our children we were divorcing.
#190, Memorable moments