I’m sorry… and I’m not.

Dear CJ,

It’ll be years before you read this but I know that one day you’ll be curious. X’s mummy and daddy live in the same place and your mummy and daddy don’t? I hope that when that happens, you’ll come and talk to me. I also selfishly hope that when you do, a lot of the emotions of these past few months have faded into the past and that recalling them is harder for me. But you deserve the truth and hopefully by writing these things down now, you’ll get it.

First of all, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you have two homes – that there’s mummy’s house and daddy’s house and that they aren’t the same place anymore.

I’m sorry I couldn’t give you the childhood that both your father and I grew up with, with both parents in the same home. Part of me feels incredibly guilty about that – that we got it but that you never will.

I’m sorry that you are so young that you will probably never remember a time when we all snuggled up together as a family or holidays that you went on with both mum and dad.

I am sorry that no matter how much we are flexible and try and make it work, inevitably holidays will get harder. They’ll be less relaxing for you than they should have been – whether it’s getting shipped between family get togethers or missing out.

I’m sorry that you are going to come home from school excited about something and only one of us will be there to tell.

I’m sorry if you ever feel like you came from a “broken home” – please know that I tried everything I could think of to fix it. One thing you will learn about your mother is that she’s a perfectionist and having a failed marriage was never part of the “plan”.

I’m sorry that at times I’m going to be stretched to capacity and not have the patience with you that I should have.

But for all the things that I am sorry for, there’s many things I won’t apologise for.

I’m not sorry that I made the decision to be a happy mother for you on my own rather than a miserable married one. When your father moved out, I was incredibly sad for you but also incredibly relieved for me.

I’m not sorry that it ended when it did, when we both still like and respect each other enough that seeing each other isn’t awkward.

I’m not sorry that I learnt from your grandmother’s legacy that life is too damn short to lead a mediocre one. One of the things that kept running through my head as I was making this decision is that your grandmother was only 19 years older than me when she died. How much of that time was I willing to wish away hoping that things would change? Eight years? Five years? One? We’re not promised any length of time on this earth, so it really is up to us to make the most of the uncertain time we have.

I’m not sorry that I’m a person who learned to value myself in a seriously real way, probably for the first time ever. I hope you never doubt the fact that you have value to contribute to the world; in big ways of course, but also in the small interpersonal encounters you have every day.

I’m not sorry that it’s taking me a while to find my feet and work out what is best for us – the future is suddenly filled with more possibilities than ever before and I want to make sure that I choose the right one.

I’m not sorry that I will teach you that occasionally it’s okay to be selfish. Those nights I ask your aunty to baby-sit so that I can go and have dinner with my friends? They are important to me; that time away will only make me a better mother to you.

I’m not sorry that I have and will continue to make sacrifices for you – you are the only one whose needs I’ll put ahead of my own.

I’m not sorry that I’ve hopefully given both your father and I the possibility of creating new relationships that are a better role model for you of how a relationship should be than the one we had.

I’m not sorry for you about our decision to coparent. We will always put what is best for you first, whatever that may be. In my line of work I’ve seen too many people choose not to put their child first and I would never do that to you.

We both love you CJ – even if we aren’t “in love” with each other anymore. I hope you always remember that.

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12 thoughts on “I’m sorry… and I’m not.

  1. What a beautifully written post, Natasha. I’m sure CJ will appreciate it when he’s old enough to understand it. You seem to have a real knack for writing from the heart, putting out beautifully sad pieces.
    I hope this time goes as smoothly as possible for you, Rob and CJ.
    Hopefully one of those things for you will be our Book Club and that we can have a chat and a wine together there πŸ™‚

    • Haha I’m not sure what it says about me that I write beautifully sad pieces but I’ll take it as a compliment. I’m definitely looking forward to having a wine with you and I think you’ll find the novel ties in very well with the chat…

  2. You are so strong and courageous in writing this post lovely. I can’t imagine how hard the last few months have been on you guys as a family and the strength it took to admit what was best and take those steps. Good on you both for deciding to put your beautiful boy first. This doesn’t happen enough and it will be for the best long term. Best wishes for your future I’m sure you will figure out what’s right for you two xx

  3. This is so well written! My parents split when I was about 5 or 6 and spent a few years off and on again until their divorce when I was 8. I don’t know how much it has shaped me and my adult relationships, not knowing anything different. But I remember how unhappy they were with each other. And even as a young child I could understand that it was better for them to be apart because they were never happy when they were together. There was some bitterness between them for a whole and sadly they did play my sister and I off against each parebt for awhile. Sometimes subtle, sometimes pretty blatantly. You seem to be in a much better position and I wish you the best of luck with everything. You made a hard desicion, but it sounds like everyone involved will have a happier future because of it.

    • Thanks Katie. I’m getting a few comments in various ways from people who are “children of divorce”. Your response and theirs has reassured me that I am making the right decision, even if it was the hard one.

  4. I love this. You’re doing the right thing. I love what you say about valuing yourself. You are worthy of more than settling with a situation that wasn’t really working. And whatever happens, you have your awesome little buddy to love xo

  5. I am so glad you had the courage to write this post. My parents divorced when I was five and it was hard. I did eventually ask questions and I got answers…but they were very brief ones. To this day, I don’t really know anything beyond “differences”. This post is just everything…and more. Sending lots of love your way πŸ™‚

  6. My parents divorced when I was about ten or so. I remember them shouting at each other in the kitchen, with the door closed (as if the door was going to make a difference to me hearing it? :D) and lots of awkward moments between them after that, but apart from that first period of thinking how weird it was to have dad leave, I just went on with my own life. I watched my mother work hard to do lots of stuff on her own, and it taught me about independence and getting stuff done. I was happy there weren’t any more shouting matches in the kitchen that I had to witness.

    And a bit of an off-topic: a few weeks ago my son had a brain scan which showed that he has quite a significant birth injury. As me and my husband were getting anxious with thinking what school to put him in and whether we could move houses (we’ve wanted to move, but can we still do it if it’ll affect my son?), the paediatrician said that, guys, in the end the thing that will help my son’s development the most is having a healthy, happy home with people with whom he has stable, loving relationships. That no special school or an after-school class will work wonders if we sacrifice that.

    And that’s kind of what reading your story reminded me of: that in the end what’s going to benefit him greatly is a happy home.

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