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Tag Archives: Marriage

Love won’t always keep us together

I got to the end of everything this week.

Jeremy and his brother have had to pick up the pieces again.

I read an article recently about the seven worst things you can do as a parent.  I am happy to say that of all the mistakes I do make I didn’t make any contained in this article.  One that stood out to me was “be a friend to your kids”.  My boys are not my peers, I am the parent and while I believe in equality and fairness I also believe that these two offspring have a relationship to me that is very different to the relationship that I have with my friends.  I am not an automaton, much as the boys would like a momma robot who earns all the money, does all the housework and cooking and generally makes their lives easy and sweet.  They are dragged kicking and protesting out of bedrooms and into communal living areas where they are asked to talk about their days, do some tasks for the benefit of the family and basically take some steps into the land of “everybody else”.  I also believe that to be a good parent you need to show your vulnerability.  So I make no apologies for my breakdown this week.

In October my beloved and I went our separate ways.  It was my decision, one that was very difficult and reached after much reflection and broke both my heart and his.  We have had a few months of limited contact.  On Thursday he dropped off at work some bits and pieces that I had said previously he was welcome to keep.  Like the respectful and kind man he is he didn’t want to disturb me during my work day.  I have had the feeling this week that I should check in on him so the arrival of my possessions prompted a text and we arranged to meet after work before he headed back to the farm.  The boys joined us about an hour or so later for dinner and it was like the whole world was right and bright and happy.

and my heart broke all over again overwhelming me with pain and sorrow

But the reasons that I had for ending our relationship are still there.  They have little to do with with this lovely man, he did nothing wrong, was not careless, or hurtful or cruel.  It makes the decision indecipherable to him.

To live with honesty and truth takes strength.  To stay in a relationship where you can see that each person has their own goals and conversation leads down the same differing paths over and over again lacks honesty and it is better for each party to be on their own than continue barreling towards a point of hate and anger.  When you are not motivated by anger or hate you need strength to stay true to yourself.   The strength that I find so easily for my baby often eludes me when it comes to myself.

It was said to me once that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference.  I have used that sentence as a barometer to test how I feel about past relationships and whether I have truly healed or if I am nurturing some negativity that it is better to deal with.  I believe that if that sentence has a grain of truth to it then I have to acknowledge that by ending this relationship in the way that I did I have kept a positive link to a very joyful part of my life.  I am proud of that.

I did not have the strength or courage to end my marriage when I first felt I should.  I subjected myself and Jeremy’s father to a further 10 years limping along a path we convinced ourselves was right because we had a piece of paper.  I try to live without regret and I acknowledge that those ten years led us on an exciting journey and I have many wonderful friends from that time that enrich my life.  That does not take away that the damage to the four people of our family is still evident.  If I have learned any lesson I have learned that being brave and being alone are not the worst things in the world.

My wish for J is to always walk through life with strength and so I hope my example will guide him there.  In the meantime I treasure his cuddles and cups of tea offered as gifts to ease my tears.

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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Being a parent means you usually have to share the treats

Right here, right now:

  • I provide a beautiful home for my children that is also a stable environment
  • I have the means to pay for doctor’s bill and prescriptions for Jeremy
  • My bills are paid (mostly)
  • I live in a wonderful city where I can drive past water and see the swans

Some days you need to remind yourself about the little things that mean you are travelling ok.

This last weekend has been a family one; a trip to the markets, Saturday night dinner making Jeremy’s dinner of choice, a trip to Footscray for brunch then onto Bunnings on Sunday, lots of time spent together.  In the car during conversations about upcoming celebrations, my 45th birthday & Jeremy’s 18th, my beloved and I were joking how we would get married when we are 50 and I invited Jeremy along for the festivities. “Well thank you for inviting me to your wedding”.  “Of course kitten” I replied, “I hope you will give me away”.  We shared a smirk, my youngest son and I.

Because here is the deal – this blog is about parenting and my child happens to be transgender, which adds a touch of the complex on occasion to general parenting.  This child has another parent, one who apparently got married this year.  I have spoken about his engagement, but only recently found out about the wedding.  There has been a touch of furor about the wedding that had no family invited.  

So what is the big deal?  This person has recently reached out to Jeremy and stated that he wants to “father” Jeremy.  He has the right to ask, 50% of the genetic material of this child has come from him. Parents should not be martyrs, they need down time and their own bars of chocolate that are sacred.  They share sandwiches, kisses, beds, the contents of wallets, opinions and what is for dinner.  Parents lives are intertwined with their children’s.  There are times when you are challenged by your child and times when your actions challenge your child, anyone who has tried to put an over tired three year old to bed will agree with this.  Even when your child does not live with you there is still a level of consultation and inclusion appropriate to their age.   

Most parents aren’t faced with the task of discussing marriage with a child, but a surprising number do like the joking conversation that was had with Jeremy.  Jeremy trusts that when I remarry and / or re-partner I will seek his support because he is my family and if my partner is someone he isn’t comfortable with then that is too high a price for me to pay. Because I am in this for the long haul,  I am trusting Jeremy to pick my retirement home.

So there is a reasonable expectation when you are fifteen or sixteen that a parent will have a chat with you about a life changing event that impacts on them, raising topics in weekly phone calls, using that time to explore any areas of conflict prior to the precious few days that you get to spend together.   When that doesn’t happen when you are on the cusp of “adulthood”, whatever the reason, there is a lot of work to be done to build a bridge back to open communication.

I stumbled onto the other niggling point of this issue by accident when reading the other day.  I have been re-reading “Committed” by Liz Gilbert, a book where she explores the topic of marriage.  In the last chapter she says; “Marriage is not an act of private prayer.  Instead it is both a public and private concern, with real world consequences.  While the intimate terms of our relationship would always belong solely to Felipe and me, it was important to remember that a small share of our marriage would always belong to our families as well – to all those people who would be most seriously affected by our success or our failure”.  There are many reasons to privately celebrate the union between two people, regardless of religion, race or gender.  But no man is an island and so logically no two people are an island, fully self sufficient.  This becomes even more so for couples who are marrying for a second time with children involved, the event itself becomes more like an international negotiation with demarcation lines, neutral zones and plans of attack. In this instance it seems that the couple in question have shut out those on whom they will rely most for support in the future, parents, families and a child.  Appearances can be deceiving though, I can only speak as an outsider looking on from afar.

So it has been a tumultuous few weeks for Jeremy in the fathering arena during a year when he asked for space.  I am proud of how he has managed communication to date and I will stand by him as he reaches back, I won’t let his hand go until he’s ready.

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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