When my husband and I divorced 3 years ago I truly thought I would get over those feelings of dread and anger that overtook me during our separation and divorce proceedings. I honestly believed they would dissipate.
Sure I knew that I would always have to co-parent with him. I knew that there would always be birthdays, recitals, graduations etc.. and that I would have to find a way to amicably co-exist for the sake of our children.
I am proud to say that for the most part I have managed to do just that. I feign a smile when he comes to pick up the kids. I dabble in small talk at the soccer field. And I even listen- comfortably – to the kids’ stories of their time spent with their dad and his new wife.
Thankfully, the kids are older now (9 and 11) and direct communication with them has taken away a lot of the strain. They have their own phones so both of us can connect with them without the copious back and forth between ourselves. We have little interaction – for pick up and plans, we manage to sort out arrangements through text. In fact, I credit cell phones for my entire “post marriage” life – for the most part, interaction via text and email has been a positive way to move forward!
But summer camp is rapidly approaching and the kids will be gone for an entire month. It’s a hectic time of year – bags have to be packed, clothes have to be labelled, and there are lots of appointments and last minute engagements. There is always a heightened sense of stress and anxiety as the day rapidly approaches. The house is full of nervous energy. On top of that, I feel the dread of loneliness approaching… while I covet that downtime, imagining a quiet home makes me a bit weepy.
As I spend the last weeks of June getting OUR children ready to go, I feel my old friends “dread” and “anger” reappearing. Why does he get away without having to do one thing to get the kids ready? He has no idea how frustrating it is to try and collect clothing from two houses to get it all packed. It seems he gets to play the “fun dad” while I do all the work.
I start to feel like the situation is more than unbalanced…. It seems so unfair… and I find myself with rage again – he is useless, he is selfish, he is arrogant, he is flippant, condescending….
And then I feel angry that he can still provoke this type of rage….
The notion that I have lost control of my emotions just feels even more unjust.
I take a deep breath….
I need to remember that he is my chidren’s father and they adore him
And that they need him
Even in our new world, our lives do not work without him.
We BOTH have to send the kids away Together as a united front. They need to experience camp stress free. They can not feel my anger — This is about them and my feelings need to be put on hold. And so I put on my brave face. I try to see the things about my ex that my kids love and respect. I try to find that place that makes me feel sane.
I calm myself by acknowledging interaction will dwindle while they are gone
I remind myself that my sanity will be restored.
And then I think about Visitor’s Day…. and I feel exasperated again!