Sunday, December 26, 2010

One of my life's paradoxes, realized.

Sadly, my husband and I are NOT compatible. We dated on and off for about 6 years from the time I was 20 years to almost 26 years of age. We parted ways for two main reasons, the truest one, I think, being that we really weren't compatible.

About ten years later, with some contact during the interim years, we found one another again, reunited and eventually made plans to marry. At this time we were both in our late 30s and neither of us had married or had children during our time apart. I think what was really at work in our coming back together was a combination of ticking biological clocks and a mutual desire for a port in the storm of life. I'm not sure what he told himself, but I told myself that we'd both grown and changed and it seemed that maybe the time was right for us.

About a year later, despite the appearance to me of several red flags, we married. Within three months I was pregnant and ten days before our first anniversary our dear daughter was born. Now, 12 years and some months since her birth, we are together solely for the benefit of our daughter. This has been so for the majority of her life but somehow we are managing this without a lot of conflict. Instead there is great distance in our marriage as my husband and I live our lives pretty separately but do "come together" for our daughter. For now, for reasons of mainly a financial nature, brought about by this "great recession", that this is how it needs to be. I feel strongly, though, especially as she gets older, that my daughter needs to see her mother as someone who takes care of and is faithful to the best interests of, not only her child, but herself. I'm getting more and more clear that staying in this marriage is doing neither for myself but, again, this is how it must be for now.

So, although I know in my deepest being that marrying my husband was far from the best choice I've ever made, it is also, paradoxically, one of the best choices I've ever made. From that choice has come our dear daughter who seems to have inherited some of the best and worst from her parents, is clearly growing into her own person, and is easily the result of the best work I've ever done in my life.

1 comment:

excavator said...

Yes, what a paradox.

I suppose part of what is frightening to children when their parents divorce is existential. If they are part of a result of a "bad" choice, then is their own existence based on...what? Would they not be here if we'd made a "better" choice?

Thinking about your daughter made me think about my sons, and gave me a new angle in considering this. I've been thinking about it a bit anyway since my niece's birth was also the result of a "bad(?)" choice and association with the loss of my sister. I could appreciate how this would be a bit of a crisis, and then it occurs to me that it's not a whole lot different with children of divorce.

I love what a character in one of Anita Shreve's books said: "You don't regret the choices that brought you your children." And I suppose we can extend that grace to ourselves, if we consider ourselves our own children. We wouldn't think of not loving our children, and who we are is also a result of our choices, and what we've made of them. I don't know. Who would we be if we'd chosen differently?

It's been such a long slog for you and your family, these 99 + weeks. Right now you have to make the choices that get you through this, and you must feel like you're crossing a desert, or a wilderness. I look forward to a time when your life situation allows you more choices, and more freedom of choice.

Love you.