5 hours of summer

Well… 5 hours at the end of summer as we moved into autumn, so almost…

And completely irrelevant.

5 hours on the phone with a friend. A friend going through a messy divorce. Are any divorces not messy? Are there many that actually put the needs of others before their own pain at the time? This one relives my own… far too close to home in so many ways…

We were talking in the end about how hard it is to do on your own, and I said – I remember really thinking – I get why people have an affair to leave…

I’m sure there are many reasons for an affair… but when you flip that, so many relationships end because of one…

Finally… end…

Because when you examine it a little more closely, you’ll so often discover that they tried to leave before. They wanted out. But couldn’t quite find the strength to stick with it.

I don’t actually believe that people who leave ultimately change their mind… Im sure I’d be shot down for this by all those people who have changed their mind… but what I know is… after years of lending an ear and whatever… is that when one person tries to leave but comes back… it doesn’t matter what words are coming out of their mouths or how long they last… it could be years… but you can bet they want to leave. They just haven’t found the courage to actually do it yet.

So we were talking about why… and the thing is… you know breaking up is hard. You know divorce is hard. But you don’t know that it’s ducking hard. Like. Seriously.

Society is hell bent on you ticking off that 50 year anniversary. 60. Were obsessed with time and dates and anniversaries. And we’re all perfectionists. So we couch the reason to stay in all manner of hokey sentiment…. but we promised til death do us part… um, you don’t believe in god… but we don’t want to be a statistic… um, you already are…. I’m not a quitter… yeah, because going down with the ship is be modern day value we want our kids to learn…

Divorce is hard. Society makes it a million times harder. And selfish people throw in another factor of 2…

It’s about us. About or hurt. Our needs. Our. Me. I.

And when you spend your day slaying dragons… and come home to an empty house… you suddenly remember the warm glow of the hearth and the comfort in those slippers you’ve had for 22 years… the cavern walls meld into plaster and you remember that you quite like dragons actually…

So you go back and you try again… and you try harder because you don’t want to admit that you made a mistake when you cancelled that mistake….

Until one day…. that right person comes along…. and you find the strength, and the reason, to actually leave after all…

I get the attraction of that finally. I understand why so many people wait.

But I still disagree. Because we need time to heal. And we need time to face our own inner dragons. And if we can’t find that strength until we have another to give us a reason, then do we even have that strength at all??

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This entire year is messing with my sanity… and this is my reset… the elusive, unattainable reset…

It sucks…

I write and talk so much to others, that I need to consciously remind myself to check in with my own kids…

I know you don’t see your dad very often and I know you’d love to see him more… but maybe it’s better if you guys mention it, because I don’t think me saying anything is a good idea…

No mummy, you can’t say anything because daddy gets angry if you do… and yeah… we miss him, but we’re used to it. You’ve been broken up a long time now.

I know… but I think maybe daddy is now only going to see you in the holidays so he can see you for longer periods of time at once – a week rather than just a night or two during term…

Yeah, we know…

How do they know? Because I didn’t… initially, he’d only see them for a weekend every 2, 3 even 4 months… but the last two years we’d settled into a wknd during term and a week in each holidays. Seems like so much time, but all up, 5 weeks in the year at most… still… so much more than that first few years…

And now it’s to be how often? Is it just a week each holidays now? Are we just to wait until he appears?

Apparently the step daughter doesn’t need him to drive her all over the state anymore – her own dad has healed from his accident and the girls are back mostly living with him…

And there it is. The whole reason he let #2 child move back 15 months ago. The girls went to live with their dad. So now they have every second week child free, and only the youngest on the other week. The other two girls sometimes do every other wknd, but not always. And they need their child free time after all… at least half a year without your children… by choice…

And another friend, going through it all, sent me a message a couple of nights ago… when does the anger stop? The hurt???

It doesn’t… you just learn to let it go… because you can’t make him be a parent. And you can’t undo your choices. You can’t pick the dad you thought you had. You can’t keep ‘fixing’ their relationships….

And that’s the hardest part in the mess. Letting them sort that out and finding a balance that works for them. For mine… #1 responds to the odd text or call every other month – that’s it. #2 goes weeks at a time when he avoids his dad as he sifts through the chaos in his mind. And #3 and 4 seem to test the water… sometimes they call and it’s just not worth it, so they stop for a while… they know if they miss a few calls he will rant when they finally answer… and so they avoid the calls some more…

In the beginning, I tried to explain to him. They’re busy. It’s summer. They’re out with friends. In the sun. Playing. And they don’t feel like spending half and hour FaceTiming when they get back. It’s not personal. They’re just exhausted.

Thursday night I was at a friends and #4 tried to FT me at 10 🙄 accidentally FTed dad… oops… a mouthful of abuse because he wasn’t showered apparently – ‘you’re disgusting! I’m not speaking to you when you’re a feral!’ And hung up… because that’s how you speak to your 9 year old child you haven’t seen in over a month… and wonder why they don’t respond… then last night, 11:10pm he sends the 11 year old a message… no idea why… but she just assumes he’s tying to catch her out being up late – an excuse to abuse me for being a bad mum again… which I was, because I was out again. Two nights in one week. What parent does that after all…

On and on… it doesn’t end and it doesn’t change… but slowly slowly the kids learn… and they find a balance they can live with… because as #1 says at the wisened age of almost 19… no one wants to admit that their dad is one of those arsehole dads, so you find a balance where you can pretend he’s a decent one. You don’t ask him to do anything and you don’t expect anything. You just chat sometimes and hope you can keep pretending.

So when does the anger stop? The hurt? It doesn’t… you just work out your own balance to be there to hold the pieces together…

Find your tribe…

Surround yourself with people who are positive. Everything tells us this. All the research avers. We tell ourselves over 400 words every minute. And that self talk has a huge impact. So surround yourself with positive people. Happy souls. Successful ones.

And don’t surround yourself with me… because I’m exhausted and have no more to give… and honestly, I don’t even think I have any thing to give… because I am nothing but a shadow of other people’s lives after all…