3). When I am with them, I feel guilty and ashamed. Sorry for the mistakes I made that resulted in them being children of divorce. I’m sorry that it’s a confusing state of affairs to have 2 houses. I’m sorry that, no matter how many times and how many different ways it’s explained to them that it wasn’t their fault, in the secret places where they struggle to make sense of their worlds, they shoulder the burden of responsibility; it’s what kids do. I often torture myself with wonder about why I didn’t just try harder. A family is exactly that, a family, a collective, and not just about me, after all. It should be all about the kids, right? Sacrifice. Selflessness. Did I do everything I could to cultivate a happy home where our family could thrive? Not at all. Was it absolutely necessary for me to succumb to the allure of an empty affair? Not at all. I am a selfish man, unworthy of the unconditional love that my kids rain upon me. And yet they do, rain down love, trying to wash away the intuited guilt that erects its wall between them and their dad.
2). When I am with them, I recognize that we’re part of a much bigger picture than I could ever hope to fathom. This doesn’t excuse my mistakes but it contextualizes them within a story that’s bigger than just our lives. Who am I to question the past as if it were something I could go back and change? Who am I to decide that the way things are right now aren’t exactly the way they’re supposed to be? The fact is that my children will, barring some disaster, become adults—adults who will love and be loved. And for me to consider the past as if it’s some malleable thing that could be otherwise is for me to wish my kids are people who they’re not: children whose parents aren’t divorced. No more. The adults my children will become will be the direct results of the events that chiseled their characters. Some inexplicable Fate called just those children into this world; not me. Likewise, a mysterious Destiny calls them toward who they will become. I am but a pawn in this game. Who dares to claim for why and for what we do what we do?
(The 3rd best way for me to be with my kids dwells on the past. It will be supported by happily married people because they can’t imagine being anything but happily married people, which is wonderful and good. It will be self-righteously supported by unhappily married people because they despise their lives and require an atmosphere of righteousness to justify their misery and fear of change—change they sometimes suspect might benefit their children. However, they quickly trump this suspicion with smug satisfaction about their very good goodness. The 2nd best way for me to be with my kids dwells on the future. It is admittedly a complicated rationalization created to make peace with my past, albeit a useful rationalization that doesn’t allow for morbid self-reflection and the over inflation of my self-importance in terms of my impact on my children. I am the dad—yes—but much, much more bears on my children than me and my mistakes. They, like you and me, are the playthings of the amoral interconnection of every event everywhere all at once. Chins up, divorcees. There’s more to the picture than meets the eye. Hey Hey… My My.)
1). When I am with them, I am just with them, exploding into the mystery of Being for no known reason or cause, speechless, dumfounded, utterly amazed
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