Ad-just-ment; noun – the process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation
I want to start with this sentiment to make sure I’m very clear… I am very thankful for so much in my life.
It’s been 12+ years since I learned I wasn’t married, and I experienced a “new first” this Thanksgiving. My oldest son is now a freshman in college out of state (which by itself is a major adjustment for any parent) I wanted more than anything to be with both of my boys, all together, on my oldest sons first trip back home after leaving for college.
Divorce (with kids involved) doesn’t always allow for this type of convenience…being together, consistently, as a family.
I have made countless adjustments over the past dozen years and have learned to adapt to a variety of scenarios. Some accommodations are more challenging than others and for a few reasons, this adjustment hit an emotional trigger in me.
My oldest has always been independent and he is learning to live away from home and is really enjoying the additional freedom this allows. But not getting to see him regularly over Thanksgiving break was tough. I am not looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on, but simply want to share and be vulnerable about how divorce continues to create an emotional wake in my life.
I learned early on with my two boys to give them the space they need, yet to be present for them and to connect at every given opportunity. It’s never as easy as it sounds but not being with them all the time, I place an extra emphasis on making my time with them count. This is a tricky balance as forcing conversations is not my style.
I do my very best to keep moving forward with the same consistent approach that has been invaluable to me. There is a term often used about kids of divorced families, called a “that child is from a broken home.” I will admit that divorce broke and cracked me a little, but it did not destroy me.
This time of year, I am thankful for so much in my life and I am grateful for all the experiences I continue to navigate… as it makes me appreciate life that much more.
There are times I reflect to the summer of 2011, when my boys were 3 and 7, the divorce was finalized, and I dropped off my boys at summer day camp on a Monday morning. I knew I wouldn’t see them for 7 days. It was one of the most gut-wrenching moments that left a huge emptiness in my soul. It was then and there I grasped how precious my time with them is. For me, there’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my boys. Divorce takes a toll for sure, but for me what it took was time away from my boys.
I was learning how to cope with time lost with my boys. I can’t get it back; I just needed to find a way to accept it and make the most of what I have. (easier said than done) I was overwhelmed and had a good solid cry in my parked car at the day camp and I vowed to make the most of my time and to be even more consistent with my boys than ever before. Consistently there for them, consistent in the way I connected with them and in the way I shared conversations with them (and in the way I listened to them!)
The ability to adapt, regardless of the situation, is one of, if not the most important skills in life.
The past 12+ years have only increased my unwavering commitment to be consistent with my boys. The past 12 years have taught me how to lean into uncomfortable situations and get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. The past 12 years have taught me to love even more unconditionally than before, to care more deeply than before and to embrace being vulnerable. I will hold myself accountable for some of the male stereotypes around not sharing my feelings, not asking for help and for keeping my struggles on the inside. I did all those things.
I simply want to share the lessons I’ve learned that may help someone else.
Take the time to reflect…reflect on the way you show love, the way you care, take the time to show your vulnerability in your daily lives and take the time to create conversations and communicate with others in your life where they feel heard, seen and valued.
Maybe this blog post is my way of giving myself a pep talk to make myself feel better. Maybe it’s my way of putting pen to paper (or tapping keys) to help keep myself accountable. Maybe, just maybe it will spurn someone else on to write through their own challenges. There is something unique about writing down your goals, feelings and challenges! (perhaps this is my own version of keeping a diary!)
I’ve been told that difficult times bring new opportunities. I have learned that it is hard to open up my thought process, open my awareness, to the good that often times accompanies the bad. It’s hard to be grateful for good elements of a difficulty we go through. We all deserve a little time to wallow….but then what…?? I discovered that writing keeps me accountable. It keeps me grounded and focused too. Writing, I’ve learned, gives me a chance to think broadly, to open up my brain to possibilities.
I have also learned that by writing, it hones my communication skills overall. Both in the written word and verbally. I have seen it time and again, those who rush to send a text or e-mail, or rush to judgement in face-to-face conversations…without taking a pause to gather your thoughts. The words we use have impact and we really need to use them wisely!
Studies have shown that writing about our emotions can not only heal stress and trauma but also boost the immune system. Additional research says that taking notes, longhand with pen and paper is more effective than computer note taking for storing information because typing results in shallower processing.
Question for you?
Does this ring true for you?
Change is constant.
Life involves constant reassessment.
Difficult situations will arise…but if we are consistent and adapt to find ways to move forward with some sense of positivity, we can be good to ourselves and those we care about.
Every morning we wake up and get the chance to be different, a chance to change and a chance to better!
What are you wanting to change?
What are you looking to be better at?
What do you want to do differently?
I look forward to any comments you may have.