I believe my decision to divorce my daughter’s father is the correct decision. Sometimes it pops up and haunts me, during those odd times when driving, or shopping, or making dinner. The tendency to rehash, revisit, rethink. What if? I have continually questioned the divorce. Not for myself; I am making the absolutely correct decision for me. What of my daughter?
Late one Sunday evening, I sat in my car at the local Park and Ride, waiting for my soon-to-be-ex-husband to arrive with our daughter. As I waited, I looked around and realized there were many other drivers, patiently waiting. Some read magazines, or, like me, simply stared into space. I noticed children emerging from various vehicles, laden with backpacks and stuffed animals. They climbed into the cars of different parents, and drove off. The parents left behind slowly exited afterwards. I realized I had joined a new club, one I never realized existed. The club of divorced parents, engaged in the weekly ritual of picking children up, of dropping children off.
Why divorce? I cannot say there was physical abuse, or adultery, or anything black or white. We fought. For myself, the fighting had grown too much. My daughter was an infant during that time. I remember vaguely the occasions where she sat wailing in her infant seat while her parents fought bitterly nearby. What did we fight over? I can’t remember. As our angry voices grew ever louder, we blamed each other for our daughter’s frantic screams. Counseling hadn’t worked. We couldn’t cooperate with each other. Our individual hurt, frustration, and disappointment prevented compassion or empathy for the other. What of the child crying in the corner?
Would she learn to psychically dance around emotionally selfish parents? I had grown-up in such an environment- did I want this for my daughter? Better to leave, to face the fears of divorce and all it entailed. Better to become emotionally healthy myself. My greatest privilege and responsibility is to become the woman that I wish my daughter to emulate.
My daughter by nature has a passionate temperament. Quick to scowl, quicker to laugh, she is for the most part a sunny, imaginative, creative toddler. She has her tantrums, which pass quickly when I retain my composure. She changes her mind and back again (and sometimes twice more.) In other words, she is two.
Today strangers comment on her easy laugh, her precocious ability to communicate. She’s a genius, of course; just ask her mother. I am often told, What a happy child she is! Whenever I hear that, I think, “YES. This is why I chose to divorce.” What my heart knows is that she has the opportunity to remain cheerful, to learn happiness from within.
And so, when she arrives at the Park and Ride each Sunday, I welcome her and her father. I believe I chose wisely when I ended my marriage. I believe we will be happy.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.