There haven’t been many high points the last five months. I’ve cried. I’ve been in shock. I’ve had bouts of paranoia. I haven’t slept well. I’ve slept too much. I’ve been angrier than I ever have, and sadder than I thought was possible. I’ve wanted to kill her. And I’ve wanted to kill me.
But there have been a few saving graces, and my children are one of them.
Much of December and January are a blur, but one date stands out: January 4th. That’s the night we told our three children we were getting divorced. The details of that night will be a separate post, but this is about a few days afterwards.
They knew I was moving out, and they (at least my eldest) knew that money was tight. One night I came home from work and found a ziploc bag of change on my nightstand labeled “$5.00 for your house”. I immediately teared up.
I don’t remember if I ever said anything about it. I don’t know if I needed to. But I do know that it’s in my nightstand and that it will never be spent.
My children have seen sides of me in the last few months that they never have before. They don’t know all the details of what’s going on, but they know that Daddy is frustrated and sad – so they do everything they can to help out and make me smile.
Today, to be divorced means to be grateful for my children – the only part of my old life that I want to remember. They’re the best.
Kramer vs. Kramer came out in 1979. A couple years later, it was on Showtime and I would occasionally catch parts of it while I was flipping channels. I was probably only 8 years old, but the movie had a profound effect on me.
I remember one scene in particular where the boy, Billy, falls from a jungle gym and hits his teeth on one of the bars. The dad, played by Dustin Hoffman, rushes over to him, scoops him up and goes for help. The boy bleeding and crying hysterically, the dad panicked but trying to keep it together, the mom nowhere to be found, all made me very scared and sad. My parents were going through their own marriage problems at the time and I wondered if I’d be the next Billy.
For better of worse, my parents stayed together. But now I have three children who could all be in that scene. My wife hasn’t left them completely, but she sure is fond of being a part-time parent. She’s “rediscovering” herself, whatever the fuck that means. I guess when you marry someone you don’t really love and feel like you’ve wasted 15 years of your life, there’s rediscovering to do. I just wish my children didn’t have to suffer for it.
She still refers to all of us a “a family” and it makes me sick. No, we’re not a family anymore. There’s me with the kids sometimes and there’s her with the kids sometimes. She broke up our family – and I hate her for it.