Growing a Rose

Posted on | April 21, 2011 | 30 Comments

Make no mistake, getting a divorce is little different from losing a loved one suddenly in death.  You mourn.  You grieve.  You wonder if you could have saved them.  Only, with divorce… at the end of the day, you see that loved one in the grocery store and you realize that they didn’t die.  They didn’t leave everyone.

They only left you.

And it sucks.

I am trying so very hard to keep my head up.  I am trying not to wade knee-deep into the mud, slinging names and words and hatred like children in a snowball fight.  I am trying to maintain my dignity.  And my God is it hard.  I want to scream.  I want to pound and pummel and lash out at the person who made me feel this way.  I want to make him hurt the way he has made me hurt.  I want to ruin him the way he has almost ruined me.

But ultimately? That only hurts one person… J.  And I would do anything in the world to keep J from hurting.

So instead, I smile.  I fold another load of laundry.  I calmly discuss visitation rights.  I stir the sauce on the stove.  I draft a contract.  I take a deposition.  I divvy up the personal property in my house in to stacks of his and hers.  I silently mourn the loss while preparing for the future.

This is not what I want.

I do not want to be calm.

I do not want to be polite.

I do not want to be mature.

But we can’t always get what we want when we know what  it is that we need.  And what I need is to keep my composure and be the best mother I can be.  I need to teach my son that it’s okay to make mistakes and that even though his father made mistakes, they do not diminish the fact that he loves J very much.  I need to show my son what it means to be an adult.  I need to raise my son knowing he is loved by two parents, not one.

Together, we planted a seed.  Together we watched that seed grow into a tiny, wonderful, magical person.  Separately we will watch him grow into a child and then an adult and then, God willing, a very, very old man.  Separately we will tend the earth around him, feeding him, caring for him, letting him grow into the amazing person he is destined to be.  We will be separate, but we will always need to work together.  There is only the one flower and to press and prod against it, fighting for the rights to the very soil that cloaks his roots and the leaves that feed his soul would only damage the delicate petals.

I could do no greater disservice to J  than to tell him hateful things about his father.  I could do nothing worse to his tender psyche than to tarnish the image of his Dada.

And so I fold another load of laundry and choke down another round of sobs.

My son will be a man someday.  And I will be sure that he is a good one.


30 Responses to “Growing a Rose”

  1. Toni
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. I think you’re amazing for going through something like this and still keeping your son’s best interests in mind. Big hugs.

  2. TheNextMartha
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Beautiful and sad and hopeful.

  3. Mrshiggison
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    You are a brave woman. Your son will be proud of you when he comes to understand one day.
    ::patting you on back::
    You’ll do amazing things with your new life.

  4. R's Mom
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    This must be so hard. But I think you are definitely doing the right thing for J in making sure he knows his father loves him, and not putting him in the middle. That being said, I hope you do have a few outlets (when J is not around) to yell and scream about how unfair this all is…therapy, a friend, something. Because as good as you are being for J, you also shouldn’t bottle it all up inside. That’s not good for you.

  5. Kim
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I’m a regular reader and just wanted to say how sorry I am you have to go through this. I can tell you are a strong and amazing woman and you will get through this! If it helps at all someone in Colorado is sending you good vibes 🙂

  6. KLZ
    April 21st, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    Lady, I think you need to sign yourself up for a kickboxing class. You’re absolutely right that you need to be mature….most of the time. For one hour a week, let yourself kick the crap out of a punching bag.

  7. Roxanne
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

    I know how difficult this time is, but you are being strong for your little one and that’s important. But it’s important to take care of yourself too. Go ahead and give yourself permission to scream & yell (kickboxing class suggestion above sounds good) when the kiddo is out of sight.

    I just went through this last year. I won’t lie. It still hurts. I hear with a little bit more time it might not hurt as bad.

    Good luck.

  8. Tyler-Ashlee's Mommy
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    It is hard but this truly is best for J. My parents divorced when I was 5. Now at age 31, they’ve been in the same room together, let me see, 3 times!! They screm and holler at each other; pit one against the other and try to outdo the other. It’s ridiculous. Hold your head up high. You will succeed (and you’re doing it the right way!)

  9. facie
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    I have to think being civil and doing what is best for your kid (i.e., not telling him exactly what you think of your ex) is probably the most difficult part of separation/divorce. It just has to be.

    I know when my husband and I argue, we often do it in front of our kid, which is wrong. If we, God forbid, ended up not making it, I can only imagine how things would be and what we would say.

    I applaud you for knowing what is best, and I wish you much luck and strength on this journey. Tomorrow is another day and even the sun shines through the darkest clouds.

  10. Cheryl @ Mommypants
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    I think it is wonderful you’re setting such a great example for your son. Truly. I can’t even imagine going through that.

    That being said, you still need a healthy outlet for your grief, and I hope you find a safe place to really let it all out.


  11. krlr
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    My parents split when I was young too – one took the high road re the other parent, and one did not. I know the difference. I have no doubt it is miserable right now but you are doing the right thing for your son AND for your long term relationship with him (your son, obvs, not your ex). And ditto the suggestion for kickboxing!!

  12. Casey
    April 21st, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    I agree with KLZ…the kickboxing class is an excellent idea. Don’t overlook the option to swear, bitch, vent, and be human here….we’re all on your side and I’d venture to say that we are all sending our love and strength your way. I have a stepson whose mother only refers to his father when talking to him as the Loser. “The Loser is going to pick you up from school today.’ We are lucky that he can talk with us about this, but it is very hard. You are doing the right thing by keeping his father’s image intact. It will give your son a chance to come up with his own opinions as he grows to know his father. (BTW, just so you can get a real feel for this woman….at a soccer game, when our little guy was 5, she yelled from about 30 feet away, in front of several teams of children and many spectator parents and while holding his little five year old hand, “You fucking cunt, I can’t believe you’re showing your fucking face at this game, you don’t belong here you fucking fat cunt!” Nice. (The divorce had been over two years prior!) It took a long time for our boy to recover. It’s not worth a child’s sweet innocence and love to fuck with the people he loves. He was mostly worried about my feelings and didn’t understand why his mom would be so mean….anyway, sorry, just hang in there.)

  13. WeeMason's Mom
    April 21st, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    This just made me cry. You’re doing an awesome job, even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time.

  14. Tiffany @MomNom
    April 21st, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    I agree with other posters – look for a way to get some of your aggression out – don’t let it bottle up. Exercise sounds like a great option.

    Keep your head up, you are amazing. Such a better mother than many of us would be, myself included.


  15. Mel
    April 21st, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    Simply put, I have so much respect for you.

    I’ve read your blog for a while since I found it (I’m also an attorney, with a 3 year old son.) I’ve never commented before, but for this you deserve accolades from as many people as possible. Many, many parents could learn from you.

  16. Lisa Lundy
    April 21st, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    Your little man is blessed to have a momma who puts his needs above her own. But take care of yourself too. You are in my thoughts 🙂

  17. KristinaYellow
    April 21st, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

    You are amazing. Your son will be so happy that you are his Momma. He is lucky to have such a wonderful loving momma who puts his needs above her own-and that will pay off for you in the years to come. I agree with the other posters-find a way to let your feelings out safely, away from J. And honestly, I don’t think I’d be as thoughtful about this as you. You are so strong-be proud!

  18. Ashley
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 2:45 am

    I love your blog. I also love that you are being strong for J, but keep in mind that we are all your friends here. We want to know what’s really going on in your head. You can always bitch to us.

    You are amazing.

  19. Joanna
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 2:49 am

    You are a wonderful mother.

  20. Kitty
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    I want to be you when I grow up! Keep rocking hard.

  21. Kimberly
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    This is so powerful. You are such a strong strong woman. Dont ever think otherwise. What you are doing is right, for your son. And when he blooms and grows into a wonderful man, he will have so much self worth because his parents who couldn’t make it together as man and wife still made it together in love of their son.

  22. Kimberly
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Ps. You can kick the shit out of things during nap time

  23. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    You are so strong for J! One day he will know how strong you were through this for him and he will thank you.

  24. Momalegal
    April 23rd, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    J is very lucky to have such a strong and loving Mama. I know it is hard, but keep your head up. I’d love to buy you coffee next time you are in G’boro. Hugs.

  25. JD Momma
    May 10th, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    You are a very strong person. I have recently discovered your blog and have to say that you are strong and brave and a wonderful mother. My 1st husband and I seperated when my oldest (now 14) was 2 1/2 and I also decided that the best thing was to never say anything bad about the ex in front of my son. It is very hard, but the best thing to do.
    Keep your chin up and know that there are people who love you and are there for you.

  26. Priti Premani
    June 18th, 2011 @ 6:09 am


    I stumbled upon your blog yesterday while browsing another blog and am I glad I did. I’m emotionally in the same boat as you except my husband and I are still together for the sake of our ten month old baby girl.
    Hats off to you for being so mature and generous. I wish I’m able to emulate (if not truly feel from within) the behaviour you have adopted.
    I thank you for the strength you have unknowingly provided me with.
    God bless you and J.

  27. molly
    July 14th, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    Ugh, huge lump in my throat. HUGE. I’m choking down tears for you, hon.

    You are so strong. SO strong. You may not feel like it but you are! Your son will thank you someday for the wonderful mother that you already are.

  28. Justice Jonesie
    July 14th, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    What a well written post. I hope that you are managing well under the circumstances. Divorce is so,so hard. Many people don’t understand it. If you can survive this, you WILL survive anything!

    First time visitor, stumbled upon your blog while reading the Blogher nominations.

  29. HonestConvoGal
    July 15th, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Congratulations on your BlogHer award. This is a moving and deserving post.

    Amy @Honest Conversations

  30. Amethyst Moon
    July 16th, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    Beautiful post! congratulations on VOTY honoree

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