Divorce is ugly. Even the easiest divorces a.k.a mine have their rough places, their angry places, and their fragile places. Unfortunately, it's the fragile places where you must tread lightly for fear of upsetting the balance that you are slowly, but surely, becoming accustomed to. The places where you must fake a smile and pretend to be fine. "Just fine actually, why do you ask?". The places where tears come, but must get wiped away as quickly as they are formed, because there is no room for weakness in these places. These are the places where you do not get a "clean break". The places you do not get to walk away unharmed or unscathed. The places that settle into the cracks of a now broken life, and you must learn how to navigate and endure them.
I think when you get divorced and you have children, you experience more of these fragile places. Places like: your first Christmas morning without them, a family event you don't get to attend with your child, a big moment from their school day, their first visit from the tooth fairy, or their wide eyes when they awaken to their first snow of the year. There will be thousands of moments like this and you will need every ounce of grace you can find within you to help you navigate through them.
As a parent, these are places you dread, but you know are coming. These are the moments that will attempt to break you, and you know, sometimes they will succeed. There is no magical cure for overcoming them. There is no 10-step plan. All you can do is accept them, walk through them, and know that in a few hours you can go to bed and start again the next day.
I experienced my first of these fragile places on Saturday: my ex-husband's sister got married, Emma was her flower girl, and I missed out.
While I was invited by my ex-husband's mother to attend, I chose to bow out as gracefully as I could. We've only been separated since April and our divorce was finalized only a month ago. The wounds are still fresh, and let's face it: no one, even as kindly as they may ask, really wants the girl with the ugly past at their wedding. So I declined, and settled to be allowed to attend Emma's hair appointment and to go up to the church early to help her get into her dress and to take a few pictures.
It was tough.
I didn't get to see how darling she looked coming down the aisle in her beautiful dress, or get to be the reassuring face on the front pew smiling proudly at her. I didn't get to see how silly and playful I'm sure she was at the reception, or her face when her aunt presented her with the cute little stuffed owl she had made for her as a reward for a job well done. I didn't get to be there. I missed one of the biggest moments in her short little life so far, and it took everything within me not to come undone.
Yes. I know I made this mess. I know that these are consequences of choices that I made. I know. But, the knowledge of these things will not ever make missing out on that moment or moments like them any easier. I'm her mom. Emma's MOM. I carried that little girl inside my body for nine months. I stayed at home with her for 3 1/2 years, and for two of those years she was the only person I had to talk too. We are close. So close. There are no words that could ever describe the bond we have with one another.
I'm SUPPOSED to be there.
And to try to tell my heart anything different is a pointless battle. I will always feel that way. Always. I will never be okay with missing out, but somehow I will learn how to battle through those moments. Not because I want too, but because I have too.
This is the beginning of my fragile places. My ugly places. The places I fear the most as a mother.
And all I can do is take a deep breath, lay them at His feet, and trust that He will see me through them. Because without Him, I'm never going to make it.