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Well. That was fun, wasn’t it?

October 4, 2010

I really didn’t set out to take the discussion into the cold, bony lap of the Grim Reaper, but when you reach your mid-40s, your birthday can seem like just another tranquilizer dart in your neck. If you have young kids, you can derive some comfort in knowing that, if you die, your widow(er) will keep your memory alive. If you divorce, though, you have no idea how, or even if, you’ll be remembered. You picture your spouse wrapping up every remnant of your existence and flingapulting into oblivion. You wonder if your 18-month-old will even recall what you look like, or if your parents will ever see their grandkids again.

It was this sort of neurosis that drove the piece I wrote in “Things I Learned About My Dad,” an anthology of dadspecific essays compiled by Heather Armstrong. It was a deeply personal (and unapologetically long-winded) letter to my boys to tell them about my family history and the life we led before the marriage, and the economy, and my lower back went to shit.

As I wrote it, I thought that if I were ever booked for a premature trip to oblivion, they’d still have a tangible, textual idea of who I was and how much I loved them.

I’m (mostly) over all that, now that Moxie and I have found some relative peace. Plus, the kids are older, and we’ve spent so much time together. I’ve had them mostly to myself almost every day for the past four summers, so having them for five nights straight isn’t that big a deal. It’s an endurance test, sure, but one you can train for—despite the constantly shifting slope of the learning curve.

And if I’m to be completely honest, I’m still sort of recovering from being the Parent Who Moved Out. Breaking the news to my older son is still burned into my brain as the saddest moment of my life, and my eagerness to take the kids when Moxie asks is probably motivated by a subconscious need to atone. And to make more memories of me that will outlast my life.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    October 4, 2010 9:18 pm

    Thanks for my daily dose, LOD.

    I had a moment at 4 am this morning where it suddenly dawned on me that LOD and Moxie weren’t your actual names….my brain has been so fried since this whole separation started two years ago. I still tear up with guilt every time my husband looks at me with the “i cant believe i lost my best friend” look….this sucks.

    • LOD permalink*
      October 5, 2010 11:20 am

      As a lot of people on the Internet have commented lately, about all sorts of topics: It gets better.

  2. October 5, 2010 3:11 pm

    My parents divorced when I was eleven. My mom was the parent who told me and my younger (7) brother. I will forever be grateful to her for being the one to tell us. It was sad, yes, but it was the beginning of our lives. My mom was so unhappy being married to my dad, who isn’t a bad man, just not right for my mom and the divorce signified such an amazing brightening of our lives.

    Yes…it does get better, and better, and better.

    I’m 39 now and still so grateful to them for knowing when to cut their losses and move on.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      October 5, 2010 3:16 pm

      Tommie, thank you for that, about being grateful.

      LOD and I told our kids together. It was awful, but would have been zillion times worse if only one of us had told them.

  3. anne permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:51 pm

    My son’s dad and I never really told our son when we separated – he was 2. So now, the past year, as he is 4 I have been telling him more and more, and with that comes lots of questions. He has a photo book that I made for him which tells his story – about how much we both love him no matter where each of us lives, and how we will always be there for him. It’s a relief to tell him and talk about it but it’s heart breaking to see him realize and feel different than his friends’ families.

  4. Casey permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:27 pm

    I too share your saddest moment. Telling the children that I was leaving was the hardest and saddest thing I’ve ever done.

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