The children in this picture are unaware. They are filled with promise. It’s an early spring evening, one of the first warm ones of the year. The air is sweet with the scent of newly opened buds. We are at the playground just a little longer than we should be as evening draws near. They are full of joy, and laughter, and openness.
What they are unaware of, is that in eight short weeks, their life will change forever. They will leave the small, cozy apartment they’ve lived in for the past three years, and board a plane headed several states over, and when they land, it will be into a very different world: a world where they have two separate families.
Six months earlier, during one of those conversations husbands and wives have, I asked their father what kind of a life he wanted for himself, and for us, as a family. His answer sent shockwaves: “I don’t know, but I don’t want it to be with you.” It hung there in the air, the fault lines immediately forming.
I can’t say I was completely surprised. For a long time, something felt wrong, and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. But I always assumed, whatever it was, we would face it and fight it together. That night, I began to realize that what I was trying to hold on to was not there.
What followed was quite surprising: there was, of course, hurt, rejection, and anger. But we still had something together: a strong commitment to the lives of two young boys. Somehow, through all the strong feelings, I decided to focus forward, on creating the life I wanted for me and the boys. And most surprising of all, to put aside strong feelings temporarily, and with the help of a very kind therapist, continue to live with the man who wanted to leave me. To continue to share a home with him for seven months.
To say it’s been an easy journey would be false. Its taken levels of restraint and acceptance I never knew I was capable of. An incredibly supportive and discreet small group of family and friends created the backbone without which this would not have been possible. But as spring fully takes hold in these parts, with five months behind me, and two short ones to follow, optimism is starting to occupy more and more space.
This journal has been an intermittent place for me to chronicle my creative and family life. I’ve always tried to keep it positive (perhaps that is why there are so few posts-it’s hard to positively chronicle unease.) But I’m going to allow myself to chronicle this new journey here. There have been many folks online whose inspiring lives and stories have been a comfort for me in this time, and maybe this story will someday bring comfort to someone else.
There are fifty-seven days left in this leg of the journey. On the other end of those fifty-seven days is a horizon filled with what I hope is endless possibility. There is a community that has already been so surprisingly welcoming, open, and supportive, that their love buoys me on those dark days that do still come.
And there are two boys, filled with joy, and open hearts.