I'm back to New England today after a jaunt in sunny Florida. The trip lived up to all of its excellent potential. My kids got a few days to spend with their dad, and Jon and I got a few days to ourselves (I'm guessing our last for quite a while).
Coming home from this trip has made me reflective on this year, particularly on my divorce. My kids had a wonderful time this weekend with their dad, mostly due to the fact that he seemed relaxed and happy. This is only the second time they've seen him since he left for Miami last July, and the first time was wrought with sadness and overshadowed by the knowledge that the visit would be short-lived. This time it felt as though something switched for both their father and for them, somehow they all understood that they will visit each other again, that this can and will be a regular thing. This is what should be understood, but somehow divorce and relocation can make kids feel so abandoned that they are left with a huge sense of mistrust and fear, more loss to add to their grief for the family unit they have already lost. As a parent trying to help your kids navigate this sea of emotion it's unnerving to bring them into a situation where you really have no idea where their emotions will end up when it's over.
Our visit to Florida last October took a long time to recover from, their bodies carried around the burden of that emotional visit for weeks. This time seems light years better, they were already okay even before we pulled out of the parking lot away from their dad. We ended this visit with their dad with dinner together with me and Jon and my ex-husband and the kids. The potential for awkward and cringe-worthy moments was looming large. Fortunately it worked out fine, a quick and easy meal that clearly made the kids happy, and made the transition much easier.
This past year has been a plethora of emotional baggage, both the most hideous and the most wonderful. I am still trying to find a balance for how to keep my kids happy and healthy amidst all the changes life is throwing at us, and I am pretty sure I am doing the best I can. Divorce has been one of the most painful and also most necessary things I have ever gone through, and I have come to the conclusion that there is no easy way to go about it. There will always be some level of emotional suffering at some point. My job as a mother and as a woman is to make sure we have found some level of peace and emotional growth along the way, and to try every day to see the things that make us happy.