A few days ago I wrote a post about trying to understand and come to terms with my son. The Father Son Emotional Loop: Struggling As a Single Dad
Today, in a conversation with my daughter over lunch, I had a new insight that I did not articulate in the previous article. Here’s the nugget.
After the divorce, there were moments and months when I was trying to survive. My prior struggles with depression kicked into high gear as I lost everything sacred to me. I lost 70% of my time with my kids. I lost my house and neighborhood. Any financial progress I had been making in my career was hindered by $1,500 per month of child support. As I moved in with my sister for a few months, I was struggling to survive.
My son doesn’t understand how dark my life had become. I did my very best to show up for my kids every other weekend. In the days between our “family moments” I was struggling.
He has a chip on his shoulder. As he says repeatedly, whenever we have a disagreement, is
you weren’t there for me
and even when you were UP, it was hard to get a word in edgewise
Yes, I agree. I was having difficulties. BUT, I am talking about the last 7 years or so, let’s say since he was a junior in high school. Since I’ve been able to pull my life back together again, I have been 100% available to him. I have been pursuing him. I have been inviting him to dinners, vacations, and any other activity I think he might be interested in. I am actively pursuing my kids. That’s my motto.
The Loss of Our Fathers
Dear son, I too lost most of my time with my father. The big difference is, that my dad was a raging alcoholic. He was truly unavailable to me.
While I’ve struggled with depression and loss since the divorce, my attention and focus has always been on remaining close and supportive to you and your sister. Perhaps, there is a disconnect in our perspectives. And I can only take responsibility for my own activities and failings. I admit I was not always able to keep my depression out of our lives. But, I was clear about it. I was transparent about it. I never tried to hide my struggles. I did my best. And I always strived to be a part of your life at every opportunity I was given.
Since, the divorce, my goal has been to remain close to you. I am sorry you are still hurting and struggling with the loss and pain of the divorce. It crushed all of us. Perhaps, working with your counselor about this old pain is more productive than trying to hash it out with me.
Time with you is priceless. I will never give up on your, nor stop pursuing a relationship with you. Ever.
I Can’t Change Your Experience
I can only take responsibility for my actions. And I would like to share my life and joy with my son. I do hope that he will move through the frustrations and pain of the divorce. And I hope he gives us a chance to talk about our experiences and come back together in the same way my daughter and I have.
Time with you is priceless. I know this. Eventually, you will understand that time with your dad is also priceless. And the loving relationship we lost, due to the divorce, is something that only time together will rebuild. I will never give up on US.
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