I recently spent a weekend with my son. We went to a ball game together, and enjoyed a cross country ride across the state of Wisconsin. Now this ride was so important to the both of us, but me especially given the circumstances of my relationship with him. I went through a divorce recently and the impact it had on my daughter and son is far beyond what I expected it would be. But why would I even think my kids wouldn’t be torn by such an action of their parents.
My children are young adults, my son 27 and my daughter 31. I luckily had breakfast with my daughter the morning we took off on the road trip, so seeing both was an especially fortunate experience for me. I love my children dearly, and during the early part of the last three years since my divorce I have felt like the estranged parent in the split. I have always felt my ex-wife shared more about our relationship with the kids than I would have liked. I always tried to remain close to the chest because a lot of our circumstances belonged to her and me. My daughter and I have had good laughs over the years, having that daughter and father relationship that is typical in a family. My son and I were a bit different as he is closer to mom, and naturally took her side in a lot of the circumstances of our divorce.
I remember early on my friends and close confidants telling me to be patient, my kids will come back to me. At first I couldn’t believe that would ever be true. I felt so removed I was afraid they would reject me as their father altogether. This weekend proved otherwise.
Recently, my son and I changed the brakes on my car. We always enjoyed tinkering on our cars together and it was indicative in our interactions that things were a lot better now than they were a couple of years ago. We laughed and shared ideas together and high five and fist bumped each other once we finished the project. I was so happy and he seemed to be so as well, so when we had a road trip ahead in a couple of weeks I was excited. He too expressed anticipation.
We talked about numerous subjects along the way, the most of which centered around our relationship and the roles mom and I played in growing up together as a family. It was clear throughout the ride there were differences but those were far outweighed by the appreciation of our times together by the time the road trip had reached its end. I was able to hear about his struggles and successes, his wonders and curiosities about his future. We talked about what was important to him. I just let him go and the range of emotions he expressed or we expressed together was truly cool.
Ironically along the way the radio crapped out and suddenly we had complete quiet for the ride. He could have put in his air pods and I would have been ok with that but instead we just had a 500 mile dialogue that took us right to his door at the end of the night.
I think the most important part of the weekend was realizing we liked to be together. I was so afraid of that after the divorce. I hurt my kids, and my wife and we hurt each other. We did talk enough about mom for him to have confidence in my appreciation and care for his mother. We are a seemingly amicable split couple and it is important to me that the kids know it. Many people including my son this weekend, have told me I have no control over that and it is true. I can only go forward and I have tried and will continue to find ways to do that so my kids know I am there for them.
So I finish, asking the reader to know this writing is for me, and if there are any takeaways you find, then I am happy to oblige. I think family is such an important part of our lives and the essence of true relationships is to understand and believe and have confidence in the manner of love that exists in our lives. Embrace it, don’t run.