The complexity of feelings I am experiencing overwhelms me. This is my first Christmas since my wife of 28 years and I ended our marriage last April. Christmas is a big deal for my immediate and extended family. Traditions. Huge gatherings. Joyous reunions. Gifts galore.
Christmas Eve is an overflowing punchbowl of loved ones connecting. I’ll be surrounded by dear friends who have celebrated the night with us for over twenty years.
I have to be there. I have nieces and nephews I love dearly. I’d rather not be the reason their parents are forced to explain, for the first time, that sometimes families change. Sometimes, love isn’t enough to glue a broken family back together.
I have to be there. And push aside my feelings about some of those “dear” friends who have made no effort to connect with me since I left my family home seven months ago.
I have to be there even though, when I see my daughters, in their eyes my reflection is a reminder I failed their mother, I failed our family, and I failed my self.
I NO LONGER FEEL LIKE THAT!
I know I’m a work in progress. I know I’m on healthy road. My sense of self is stronger than ever. I’m in a great place.
Unfortunately, my daughters don’t know see who I am becoming.
For example, I’ve lost twenty pounds in the last five months. My ex-wife and three daughters are the only people near and dear who have not seemed to notice the change. Their tunnel vision is a tangible, painful reminder of how long it will take for my daughters to see me in the here and now. I get that. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
A friend, I greatly respect, stressed my need to establish new traditions with my daughters that can co-exist with those we already follow. It makes sense. A chance to start with a blank slate.
The only challenge is I don’t think my daughters want to spend time with me right now. I think they perceive me as the grandparent they are obliged to acknowledge without really engaging.
I texted my daughters yesterday. “When are you coming home?”
Lexi, my youngest replied, “Sarah and I both arrive on the 21st but I’m basically booked every night through Xmas.”
I haven’t heard from Zoey yet.
I have to accept that I am not very high on the list of my daughters’ priorities. I know rebuilding is a slow process. The challenge is allowing myself to mourn while not beating myself up. Not easy for me.
My plan is to invite my daughters on a walk. From my neighborhood, through the zoo and ending at Tryst for lunch one day. That’ll be the first stake in the ground. The new me walks. The new me wants his daughters to join him on his journey.
Cross your fingers. I am.
Stay in touch. Connect.
P.S. On the subject of grandparents