11:02 AM, Sunday, January 17th, 2016:
Talya needed a couple hours alone to feel human again (parents know this feeling so well) and thankfully since my schedule is a ton lighter since 2015, I can do it! So I took the kids to the park for a couple hours (something Talya does for me almost daily) and, well, the video speaks for itself:
Listen, all divorce is awful... but divorce with kids it's a type of heartbreak that although they adapt, is very very deep. I look in their eyes right now and they're trying to make sense of it all. They have a mother and father and they mean very different things to them. Their mother and father love each other and we all live in one space and we emphasize daily that this is our unit.
I was 7 when my parents separated. My day-to-day life didn't change much as my father was away on business and now there were visits I could look forward to that were consistent. As time passed of course I realized: these people don't like each other. They're trying to cover it up with general niceities, but they really don't like each other. Strangely, my grandmother on my mother's side seemed to truly love my father. When we went to lunch after church on Sundays my father would join sometimes (come to think of it, maybe unbeknownst to my mother? Oops) and it wasn't fake. It's the beginning of understanding how grey the world is. My grandmother used to work for my father's parents and always spoke highly of them although my mother did not. Now, that doesn't mean one person was right or wrong... just means they had different persepctives. But those different perspectives kind of threw me into adulthood pretty quick.
I adapted. I was a pretty smart kid and I understood that it happens, but I should still love and hope for the best. CLEARLY that side of me didn't break because of my parent's situation. I know people want to put my marriage record at the hands of growing up in a broken household, but I gotta tell you, now at 40, I worked so goddamn hard at my relationships, BECAUSE of my upbringing, and often that hard work meant finding out we weren't a match. I had no problem moving on because, honestly? My parents should NOT have stayed together and I understood that. In my mind the best thing you can do is move on before children because THEN it gets extremely complicated and the juggling act demands you drop some things. You do your best, but there's too many balls and you're unprepared. Shit falls.
...which brings me to taking my kids to the park, by myself, and it feeling like "visitation". I remember that feeling quite well as a kid. When I'd spend time with my dad in the afternoons every other week, you'd watch the clock. You wanted more time. 4 hours a week! Which goes right back to that video: This is not visitation. This is not visitation. This is not visitation. Christ, the sentence brings tears to my eyes. I guess I never knew how much that word affected me until now. It was the one thing I desperately didn't want for my children and I did it. I guess the cynic out there might call this quite presumptuous considering they're 3 and 2... but the foundations that are laid are extremely strong. There never have been cracks. The issues we run into as a family seem to make us stronger. Talya and I communicate constantly, learning constantly - we not only share our love of our children, we jump WHOLEHEARTEDLY into "single life" together. "Being single" is what Talya and I call our other life, you know - the one without kids? Also, Talya is planning the big DISCONNECT with Cam this week (weening) and if all goes according to plan? Both Vienna and Cameron will be sleeping over at their grandmother's this Friday which means, holy motherfucking balls, for the first time in 3 1/2 years, Talya and I will wake up to a house without children.
The thought of that is so unbegoddamnedlievable it makes my eyes gloss over. Anyway, the point of all of this was to say that both Talya and I value OUR relationship as much as our relationship with the children. To be honest, it's easy to do when you get so much time with the kids. It's crazy that we both get to be home ALL THE TIME. Wonderful. And when we have the kids by ourselves?
This is not visitation. Man, I know in the future we'll do one-on-one things with the kids more often. I'll take Cam or Vienna alone somewhere... it's going to be so overwhelming to me because of my relationship with my mother and father being isolated. Wow, I never thought about that. My memories as a child are of one-on-one moments with both of them separately. Strangely I think it's going to make my one-on-one times with my kids feel more fatherly than when we're all together. Man that's true! When the 4 of us do something? It feels like I'm playing a role! Like this is "playing house". And we're "playing family". When it's one-on-one? I feel like a dad. Weird... that's not even a good or bad thing, it's just a thing.
Fascinating shit. I need to stop typing. I could write forever... (no shit, entry #1604)