Children can be okay after their parents split up.
Here I am again, right in the middle of a weekend without my children.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting around doing nothing the entire time they’re gone. I do have friends that I see and things I like to do. But always, in every quiet moment, or in any movie theater, or restaurant or just lying in my bed at night, I realize they are not in the next room and I’m struck by their absence from my life.
I realize it’s all going to be okay,the children are doing more than fine, better than anyone could have expected two kids to be when their parents suddenly live in two different houses. They’ve adjusted with what appears to be seamless aplomb, and aside from a few minor behavioral things that probably would have happened anyway, I’m just astounded at their composure through it all.
I think their acceptance comes from our matter-of-fact manner with them from the moment we decided to separate.
We’ve put their happiness first, and we make sure that they see both of us on a regular schedule. I feel like we’ve both been really good about encouraging them to have fun while they aren’t with us, even if, admittedly, it hurts on some level. Ultimately, we want them to be as happy as they can possibly be.
Ideally, both of your parents are living under the same roof, madly in love and you’re all one big family. On the other side of that would be that your parents despise each other and one of them has left the state, never to speak to or visit with the children ever again.
I think that what we’ve chosen—not to be married but to still consciously co-parent together—is going to work out okay.
The reason I’m describing all of this is because of what happened last night.
The boys were with their father when I got a phone call from him. He invited me to meet them for ice cream. He did not tell them that I would be meeting them, but said there would be a surprise guest. I arrived first and waited in my car.
When they pulled up, I gathered my things, and just as they pulled in beside me, I looked over to see my boys’ faces light up with pure joy. I grinned madly at them and rushed out of the car to hug them and ask them about their day. They were so surprised and happy to see me.
My youngest son quickly grabbed my hand and said, “When we pulled in I saw your car and I thought is that Mommy? When you turned to us and smiled your beautiful smile I knew it was you and I was so happy.”
There are times when I still sit in awe at how my life has transformed in what seems like the blink of an eye. There are reasons that I am much happier now. But changing the dynamic of a stable family is never an easy decision, and I have moments every day where it weighs on me.
I still stand with conviction knowing that I made the best decision to allow for my own personal happiness.
They always say a mother is supposed to put her children first. I think I’m doing the best I can to put myself and my children first.
If I can manage to pull this off, it might just turn out to be the biggest win of my life.
Adrienne McGuire is a writer, educator, and wellness enthusiast living in New Jersey with her two sons, who are seven and nine, and her new husband, Brian. She abandoned the corporate world in order to live the life she really wanted and became an entrepreneur at the age of 36. Her professional journey led her to DailyPath, where she is now an integral part of the writing and design team.
Editor: Elysha Anderson