It's been just about two years. Since it all went upside-down. Meaning, life changed, in a big way. My marriage didn't work, we were new parents already dealing with so much. And there is...a lot... that goes on when major life-changes like this happen. For sure.
It can be very traumatic, even when things end rather amicably. It can induce severe stress. Body systems, hormones, all sorts of things can go offline and misfire and wreak absolute havoc on the nervous system. On every system.
It can be absolutely maddening, even when it's "easy." (PS, it never is, it's always a last choice.)
But here's what I want to, perhaps need to, press on. Someone, somewhere, some little boy, much like mine, needs to hear this.
Mommy is okay. Your Mom is the strongest person that you've ever met. You know, I came from a home where my parents split, in the 8th grade, my sister in 4th, my brother a year older than me. But here's the thing...just open your mind, and try to hear this, regardless of where you're at:
I know families where they stayed together. For too long. And fought, and argued, and fell apart and raised children in an environment that stunted them, when they got older. Do you know why? Because their models of love were broken. They grew up and thought love meant pain. They thought love meant abuse and depravity and bad decision making and slow endurance of heartache, until death. They thought love meant suffering and stifling dreams...but together. This is very damaging to the childhood psyche, even if well-intentioned. It affects all of their later relationships and only spreads more suffering to those that they meet.
Now, consider the flip-side.
My parents split, yes. I was an adolescent, yes. It was rough for a time, but...but...
Soon thereafter, my mother met someone new. A man who saw her differently, treated her in the way that was...closer to what she needed. So, I have been blessed with knowing what love looks like, what spontaneous romantic dancing on the deck looks like, what intrinsically knowing the other looks like, and what ... suffering looks like. Growing up in a stoic household, with miserable parents who no longer love each other...is a fate worse than living through divorce. Ideals get twisted, and these kids grow up and look for the wrong things, they look for silent suffering and sacrifice, they pick up harmful addictions, they seek more and more pain...rather than a joyful, rocky, but adventurous exploration of love, compassion, sharing, growth.
So, I guess my point is this: Mom is fine. Dad is fine. We all move on, and then put all that love into the children, and heal...perhaps on the lookout for what may be someone, somewhere, closer to the love that we really needed. And maybe we just weren't ready for that big Love, the first time around. Divorce isn't always tragic, and sometimes staying together for the wrong reasons...is tragic, as well.
It's hard for boys to see their Moms "alone." I hear it a lot and people warn me about the psychology of it. A growing boy, feeling as though...he has to step it up, be the 'man of the house,' and take care of his Mama. it's touching, but not necessary. I'm lucky though, I co-parent. 50/50. My son has equal access and time with both of us. He has his Daddy, and he has me, we just aren't romantically involved and don't live together anymore. And we're getting good at it, I think. Our son is thriving with the situation, all things considered. He's got a great support system and he's surrounded with love all over the place.
Sweet, sweet boy, as you grow, know that Mom is okay. She's probably the strongest woman you've ever met and you'll never, ever know what she went through, what she held together, what she fought through, deep inside...for you. To be okay...for you. Because you are her heart, always inside, even when you're apart. You grew inside of her, her ribs and organs moved to accommodate your growing body. You're never apart, really. That's how Moms work. It's an unconditional thing, it's just built in. At least it should be, I know it doesn't always work that way, and that truly breaks my heart.
But all she really wants? Is for you to forgive yourself for something that had nothing to do with you. Nothing at all. She never needed saving, she was saving herself already...for you. Going to battle, inside, facing demons, slaying dragons, finding her strength, her resolve, her best...for you. To provide you with a safer and more loving space within which to thrive and grow and learn to love in a more healthy way. She wanted better and more open and healthy relationships...for YOU. She went to the mattresses, healing herself, to provide you with a healthy foundation.
I'll make sure my boy knows, as he grows, that he is immeasurably loved. On both sides of his family. That he is surely treasured, but is not above anyone else. That he is appreciated when he is thoughtful and kind and helpful, and will be taught to honor and respect women and their opinions, but not be expected to be a stand-in, ever. That he will one day, be his own man. Strong and sturdy in his own confidence, from having faced his own battles within, as do any of us. As do any of us. It's the human condition. We can't shelter and save our children from their wounds, just as sure as our parents couldn't shield us. They did their best. I'm doing my best. He'll do his best. That's it, that's life. Do good work, have lots of fun, take chances, use your vacation days, and love over and over again.
If I could fast-forward...to his questioning years, when he looks back and digs into his own childhood, as I've been doing...for me... I want to tell him...
None of this is your fault. You were an amazing, bright-eyed little boy, who only wanted to explore. You chased butterflies through grass, you blew bubbles into the wind, you marveled at the sky, you rubbed Buddha's belly, and all with a smile and joy for life. You dreamed and imagined and wished you could take flight, right there, with a blanket tied around your shoulders. You wanted to be a superhero, you wanted to save everyone, everything. And one day, in your way...you will. Not with tricks and illusions, but with your heart. With your sincerity. With your courage and big ideas. With your problem solving and big thinking. With your measured and thought-out actions. With your willingness to face your troubles, head on, and see them through to the other side. And your ability to make people smile and laugh and not take themselves so seriously. You were a goofball, a troublemaker, and you loved, loved, loved your hugs, even if you started smushing Mommy's face away when she kissed you too much. You saw a beautiful, magical world, and even then, you took up your plastic bat as a sword and beat away invisible bats to protect your Mommy. Not because you are born to fight, but because you are born to LOVE. To love and protect is in you, but so is joy and wonder and exploration. Trust both, honor both. Find your sacred middle, dear one. It's there.
You can do absolutely anything in this world, if you set your mind right, if you practice and work at it, and if you treat people well, as you go. Your people are your currency. if they don't give you good feedback, then you retreat and figure it out, until they do. People, other human beings, are your gauge. Not money, not wealth, not fame. Financial security is important, to a point. But it's humanity that will steer you to true success. They are your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, friends and co-workers... human beings are your family, and they come in all shapes and sizes, ethnic backgrounds, they speak all different languages, and they wear all sorts of different clothes. And we're all in it together. See? We're all trying to figure it out. Make good friends, that you trust, and keep them. Friendships are important, family is important. Always honor and appreciate them, and remind them often, that you care.
Let them reflect you back to yourself, and dear one, pay attention. Stay humble, but be proud of the capable, dazzling, interesting, loving, powerful man that you've become and are always becoming. You are a miracle. I know, I made you in my body, I know what it took to bring you here. You can do anything, you can love anyone, you can help to transform this world into what you've always dreamed it might be. You can fly to the moon, maybe! Yes...you can. And you will, if you want it enough. If you're kind, if you're honest, and if you stay the course and do the work. Learn how to focus and hone your attention into your skills and passions, while balancing your time with honoring your heart, your relationships, your body, and your own inner peace.
Life is juggling act, it's all about balancing things out. You can have it all, but not all at once. Make time for what moves you, inspires you, heals you, soothes you, invigorates you, pushes you closer to what your want. Honor those people and experiences. Spend less time, or no time, on that which diminishes you, belittles you, takes advantage of or berates you, or takes for granted your beautiful, sensitive heart. Don't let the world turn you cruel, but build boundaries and guideposts for yourself. Know who to steer away from and who to let in. This discernment comes with practice and experimentation, and probably lots of heartache...as you learn. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. We have to get hurt to know what we don't want. Not everyone understands a heart like yours, be alert, and patient, but stay open. And love, always love, this is what your special heart was born to do This is why you feel so much. And it grows back, every time, even when it feels like it won't...it's never really gone, I promise. This Love is your superpower! Because this Love, it's everywhere, in everything. It's in you. It's in me, when I lay down to sleep and visualize wonderful things for you. And you'll make mistakes. You'll say stupid things and regret them. You'll make a fool of yourself and feel awkward. You'll trust and get hurt. You'll trust and find love. You try things and fail, you'll try things and succeed. You'll do all of these things, and it would be a lonely and quiet life if you didn't.
The world is full of beautiful and magical things, just awaiting your keen attention and time. You'll be just fine, I know you will. You've got a kick-ass Mama who's walked through fire and back. Of course you'll be fine. Once you understand...that she is fine, too. And that she loves you, and your time, and your attention...but she doesn't need to be rescued. You'll need to focus on you. That's all she wants. Is for her boy to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, confident, and to feel so, so loved. To be the kind of man that follows kind words with sincere and true deeds. That handles his inner troubles and expresses them in a healthy way that doesn't hurt others. That loves his life and always chooses the bright side, but also knows how to empathize with his fellow human beings. You've got a whole world out there, waiting for you. And you deserve it, you really deserve all the good things that are out there. Stay kind, keep humble, reflect and be proud, and keep dreaming and falling and dreaming again. This is how to make a great, fulfilling life. Kindness, compassion, adventure, and tranquility. And love. Always with Love in your beautiful heart, amore. Ti amo, mio Principe, per sempre. <3
***Big props to all the single Moms, divorced Moms, widowed Moms, who had to learn how to saddle up with a tool-belt and put down the tiaras (let's be honest, we never really got to wear them...) and learn how to spackle walls, lift heavy things, hang TVS, drill holes, pack and unpack, settle accounts, open new accounts, inspect wiring, fix ceiling tiles, unclog pipes, call in support, get the right help, hang and unhang curtains, de-stain bathroom tile, remove scary insects, relocate rogue birds, fix baby's boo-boos, fix their own boo-boos, put their babies' first, not gain 1,000 pounds, not give up... and then showing up, getting to work, getting healthy, staying sane, fighting through hell, keeping our wits, keeping our friends, keeping our GOALS... all while putting on a happy, smiling face...ever-grateful for those minutes with those precious, little angels that make it all worth it. Ladies, I salute you. I honor you. I deep bow to you. You're fucking badass, and we're all in this together. My sisters. We got this.
And to the men who get it and don't choose to exploit these women at their weakest: you are treasures and are appreciated. Life will reward you in due time, for your thoughtfulness, caring, genuine concern, and far-reaching, endless altruism. You are the ones who remind us of goodness, trustworthiness, and it keeps us going.
And...breathe...goodnight. My Loves. xo