All along I felt that no matter what, these children were MINE. I was a single parent in a marriage, he showed little interest in them aside from the pride that a father has in his sport-successful son, only he was she, our middle child and only daughter.
She worked so hard for his approval, learning to surf and tackled the big waves so that she could be by his side. The other two, the sons, watched on the weekends as Dad and Bella would drive away without them for a morning session.
I knew that if we were ever to separate there would be no question, these children were mine.
I was right. That was the easiest part of our separation… he took off and left us alone, as usual ~ the pieces were easy enough to pick up and we just kept on as we always did when he’d be away for a couple of months to surf or to travel or to build houses far, far away. Without skipping a beat, without blinking an eye, we moved on.
One day however, I saw my son, our baby, in my kitchen. Somehow without my noticing, he had sprouted up and was nearly man-sized. I did a double take and for one split second, saw his daddy standing in his flip flops. The profile, the face, the colouring, that sandy hair, that smile ~ looked so much like his dad that my heart skipped a beat. I felt something tweak inside and wondered how I could get past what I had just seen.
For the next few weeks I kept alert, seeing Kiko in Taz’s face more and more often as his cheeks changed from cherubic round to chiseled. As his voice dropped and some of the things he said were identically sounding like his dad did in the golden olden days.
That was hard. Suddenly MY children were replicas of him. Our daughter, lithe and willowy and visually so much like me, had developed his steely lack of acceptance of my soft corners. She had become more critical like he was and she became so very hard on me. And my baby, my Tazzie, the one who was still around, had Kiko’s face and Kiko’s elegance and Kiko’s voice. Only Tristan, the eldest one, stood out for being uniquely unlike either one of us.
I think this is part of the magic that divorce hands us. A clear way for us to stop the hating and dive into the blend of two exquisite people created in those children that I had believed were truly mine. A time for me to recognize that while their care was left up to me, these were not mine but ours. And that I feel so grateful for that.