I, a mom of three small children, left my husband and kids.
Tonight I am not there to put my boys to bed. They are being put to bed by their dad, while I sit alone in my apartment down the street.
I can picture the scene right now in my home: The twins are doing their best to convince their dad to let them watch just 10 more minutes of TV, while the 4-year-old makes a million excuses as to why he has gotten back out of bed. Their dad is undoubtedly patiently navigating through the toughest hour of his day, as he calmly yet decisively repeats the same catch phrases in unison with hundreds of thousands of other parents around the country.
“No. I said five minutes and that was 15 minutes ago. It’s time to go to bed.”
“Get back in bed. I already laid with you for 10 minutes.”
I wish with every ounce of my breaking heart I could be there, tag teaming with him, lying with one, while he snuggles another, but I can’t.
I can’t because that is selfish.
Staying in a relationship with one of the most amazing people I have ever known was wrecking us all. It was killing the very life we sought to create for our kids.
For the last year or so, I had convinced myself I had to stay for my boys. I thought I had to find a way to fall back in love with him and make him fall back in love with me… for our boys.
I became obsessed with a certain outcome, the one I deemed necessary for the health and wellbeing of the family unit. Every thought I had to the contrary was quickly shot down as being selfish and completely out of the question.
How dare I even consider breaking up the family, I thought.
I knew I had to save our family. I had to stay and portray the picture I had helped create.
I believed the very foundation of each of my boys’ lives was being built upon our foundation as a nuclear family, living happily under one roof with a dog and a brightly colored, weed-free flowerbed.
However, our foundation had begun to crack.
Soon, on a daily basis, new cracks were seen. At first they were small, almost unnoticeable and to be expected. I saw them as natural shifts all foundations make as they settle and give way to the pressures of life. By simply applying a bit of caulk or sliding a plant over to cover the imperfection, I thought we could forge ahead and continue our lives in happiness.
Soon, we became each other’s kryptonite.
The love was gone and was slowly being replaced by a growing resentment toward one another. Overtime, our ache for something the other could no longer give us trumped our ability to pretend the other was all we needed.
Our outward displays of love soon became impossible to fake.
We each began coping the best we could. I chose alcohol. He chose avoidance.
The foundation was beginning to crumble beneath us, so we diverted our attention further.
When we felt the pieces give way below our feet, we simply moved to another room. When a large crack began to form down the center of the house, I bought a bigger rug, covered it up and sat back down to drink a beer or three, while smiling at my boys as convincingly as I could.
On days when the cracks were unavoidable, we chose to confront one another and point out the visible proof of the others shortcomings. Each crack had a story, involving the culpability of the other.
More on next page…