Divorce is never easy. It disrupts all aspects of your life: your family, friends, social circles, financial situation, home, and everything in between.
For me, one of the hardest things early on in my divorce was learning to accept the sucky reality of divorce – that my son would be going on family vacations without me. I will never forget one of those first vacations where he went to Florida with his dad, step-mom, and her kids.
He sent me a picture of the beach at sunset because he knows how much I love the beach and sunsets. I was so glad he sent me a picture, but at the same time, my heart at that very moment was breaking.
This was not how it was supposed to be. My son is not supposed to be going on vacations without ME! How could this happen? Below is the letter I wrote to him (and will give to him someday) after receiving that picture a few years ago.
My letter to Brandon, my 14-year-old son, who was vacationing in Florida with his dad and step-mom when he sent me this picture a few years ago.
I just got your picture from the beach in Florida. I am so glad you’re having fun, but this isn’t how I envisioned summers with you. You on vacation in Florida with your dad. Me here in Missouri. You here for a few weeks with me. And then in Kansas City for a few weeks. Summers were always my favorite times with you when you were little. My work was always slower in the summer and that allowed me to truly spend lots of time with you – at the pool, at the park, at Oceans of Fun, at the lake. I am so glad we had that time together. And now, on the weeks you are here in the summers, I cherish that time just as I do every other time you are with me.
But I still miss you when you’re gone. Early on when your dad left, on the nights you were with him, I used to cry myself to sleep. I remember that first Halloween you weren’t with me. I skipped it. You were with your dad – trick-or-treating in our old neighborhood – doing what you had always done. That just didn’t seem right that you weren’t with me. I had many offers from friends to celebrate with them – but I decided that I would skip Halloween. I sat in my apartment, turned off all of the lights so no cute kiddo would come to the door, and felt sorry for myself – so sad that you weren’t with me.
I remember the Thanksgivings, the Christmas Eves, the Easters, the long weekends, and so many other special times in between. I know you need that time with your dad, but honestly, it sucks for me, as I’m sure it does for you too.
This divorce has been hard on me. But I know it’s been equally hard on you. Although I am incredibly happy now with our new life, I have said it before, but I want you to know that I, too, think divorce sucks.
Early on, I hated missing out on seeing you daily. It tore my heart up. At my core, my heart ached. I know you’ve said you hate the divorce. But I also remember what you said very early on. You actually wrote about it in a note to your 5th-grade teacher. You said it would make you stronger. And I believe it has. It’s also made me stronger. As you are entering your freshman year of high school, I see how you’ve grown, how you’ve healed. I believe we are both still healing, but we are both stronger.
Yes, I still cry at times; the times in the summer where I don’t see you for two weeks. (Go ahead, roll your eyes at this point. I know you want to. You know your mom has always been an emotional person.) But I also know in my heart that you need this time with your dad. You deserve that.
And yes, there are other things I hate about this divorce.
- I hate that you have to spend so much time in the car – up and down I-70 – on weekends.
- I hate having to drop you off in Sweet Springs on the weekend. The Casey’s in Sweet Springs – there’s nothing “sweet” about it. And I know you wish they had better food options.
- I hate not spending summer vacations all together as a family. But, bonus for you, you get summer vacations with both families.
- I hate that I have to miss so much with you on weekends, on vacations, on holidays. Just know that you are always missed, but that I also hope you are having a great time with your dad.
- I hate that we aren’t a family like I had envisioned. But sometimes, life isn’t what we had planned. You have to learn to accept things and then move on and find new happiness and your own new sense of normal. It may not be fair and it may quite honestly suck, but it’s up to you on how you will deal with those situations.
- I hate that at times you feel torn. I know going back and forth between two households with two parents, two step-parents, step-sisters, and brothers, and different sets of rules can be really tough.
- I hate that, at times, I have no idea where you are or what you are doing – and that may even mean I may not know what state you’re in. I am your mom. I am going to wonder and, at times, worry. I will always be the overprotective momma bear, so you will have to learn to deal with that.
- I hate that you have different rules at different houses. I know you feel like we have “too many rules” at our house. But someday, you will understand. And as I’ve said before, my job is to be your parent –not your friend – and that means setting boundaries and rules, having you meet certain expectations, and teaching you how to be a compassionate, caring, and loving young man.
And no matter how much I hate this divorce, I must learn to accept it, be grateful for the time that I do have with you, and to relish every second even more. I will continue to do that – but it doesn’t mean that I will miss you any less when you’re gone. You are always in my heart and on my mind. Even on summer vacations, in Florida, without me.
I love you.
PS. Please call soon and send more pics.
So, I will continue to accept the sucky reality of divorce, including my son going on summer vacations without me. And I will cherish the time I do have with him and make the most of every moment because I am still looking forward. Living fully. Loving life. AFTER DIVORCE.
What have you found to be a sucky reality of divorce?
Kim Becking is a cancer, divorce and life thriver who helps other divorced women thrive and create an awesome new life on their own terms after divorce — teaching them to look forward, live fully and love life. She is a speaker, author and certified divorce coach through DivorcedMoms.com. For additional resources and inspiration, stay connected to Kim through her website: www.lookingforwardlivinglife.com; Facebook; and Twitter. You may also sign up to receive her Looking Forward Loving Life After Divorce inspirational tips directly to your inbox here.
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