I’ll start off by saying, I do not regret no longer being married to my exhusband. But I do regret no longer being married to the father of my children. Yes, he’s the same man, but the sentiment is very different. We are both happier now, not being married to each other. But I regret that I cannot raise my children 24/7. I regret that I cannot be there to counter someone’s thoughtless word or action so that my children grow up in their own time.
I do not shelter my children from EVERYTHING. They were there when we had to put our beloved lab down. But, I allowed them to chose when and how they wanted to participate. Life is hard, but children are innocent and I believe they should be allowed to be that way as long as they’re willing.In my house, for now, my middle schooler still believes in the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and santa claus. I know that he knows better, but he wants these things to still be magical and real and he’s 11, I’m not ready to tell him he can’t have that. He has lots of years left for life to real, non-magical and, quite frankly, hard. My daughter is a natural worrier. If there are storm clouds in the sky, she’s concerned about tornados. She tells herself that if the clouds are in certain areas of the sky, that means the storm is not going to come our way. I don’t always correct her, if I know it’s just going to rain after she goes to bed, what’s the harm in letting her feel comfort.
But at his house, my son is allowed to play Call of Duty and see Resident Evil, because her son does. In my house, this is a no-go. Who needs to see the digital representation of war or truly horror filled moments when you can play baseball with guys with no arms. At his house, my daughter was told that she will get breast cancer some day because my maternal grandmother had it and eventually died from it. In my house, they know that Grandma Birdie taught me how to quilt and sew, made them so many things in their infancy, and loved them more than they will ever remember. At his house, my children were told that nothing “Australian” could come into the house, because her ex is from there…and they hate that. In my house, we love and embrace truly Australian things, like koala bears, kangaroos, and Crocodile Dundee. At his house, they know that their dad and his girlfriend met on Match.com and that they will likely never get married again, because that just ends in divorce and divorce is ugly. In my house, they learn that Mike loves them as if they were his own children and that he is committed to both them and me. They know that we will plan the wedding together and that we will all go into this relationship knowing that divorce is not an option.
It breaks my heart to hear some things that my children hear or know or do when they are not with me. And it’s so hard to choose which battles are worth fighting and which are better left alone. All I know how to do is love them fiercely when they’re with me and do everything I can to let them be little. I regret that I cannot protect them as often as my heart desperately wants to.