May sound strange or even premeditated to some, but my ex and I always had a plan of attack should a separation ever occur. We would sporadically bring up the topic very casually and discuss things like; child support, custody agreements, living arrangements, child care etc. We even discussed moving on with new relationships and joked about what kind of partner we would want in the future. I don’t know, maybe we knew deep down our fate before we could truly face it, I’m talking YEARS before. Little did we know that these conversations would become critical planning for the future.
Although a lot of this talk was mostly light hearted and in jest, nothing could truly prepare you for that kind of reality. Logistically it was mostly already planned and had been for a long time. Once we had made the decision (I say we because I refused to leave a relationship unless it was a joint agreement that we had made together) we talked logistics. We put our feelings aside for an hour a night to discuss money, furniture, bills and payments every night until he moved out. It was a blessing that we could be so mature and compromising at such a difficult time. Being on the same page about these 3 dimensional layers allowed for the deeper issues to be dealt with in peace. It was a mutual decision, a relief, permission to move on and grow apart as we already had been. There was no conflict, resistance, arguments or aggression….at least not externally.
Internally I was petrified, I had no idea how to be an adult on my own and my worst nightmare was coming true…..my baby would grow up in a “broken home”. The guilt of this was tremendous and weighed so heavy in my heart. I fought hard and long to prevent this, ignoring the fact that a family unit can only be as strong as the love within it. I had to let go of that which I could not control and surrender to this reality that I had resisted. My family unit as I had known was now gone. My comfort, my home, my safe space, my future, my goals and dreams it was all gone. I allowed myself to grieve this monumental loss, it truly felt like someone or something had died and I suppose it had.
I was forced to relinquish the expectation and ideals I held around what made a “perfect” family. As we all know too well there is no such thing as the “perfect” family or life. I suppose I just wanted to give my child what I didn’t have; two present, loving and available parents that would always be there both physically and emotionally. In reality there is no reason why we can’t achieve this as two co-parents who are no longer in a relationship. I have never seen this kind of dynamic within my own family so I had no idea how to create this. I’m learning that I have the power to create my own family dynamic, one that works for us and nurtures our child’s special light. I am simply trusting my instincts and forging my own path to find what works and what needs adjusting.
I am so blessed to have a co-parent who is dedicated to our child’s well being but is also on their own self love journey. Being separated has meant that we are both able to focus on our own needs and take care of ourselves as individuals in a way that we never could before. Having this space to grow and learn about ourselves has made us both more open to each other and our communication has improved beyond belief. Something that my mama always taught me is that the best thing we can do for our children is to heal ourselves and in turn pass down this healing. We have already come such a long way on this journey both as individuals but also as a family.
We are still family, we still love and care for each other, we always will.
It was very confusing at first to differentiate the love that we share, because we both knew it was no longer romantic but it still existed. Just like I always had been when we were together, I am still proud of him, I still want the best for him, I will always support his goals and dreams. Throughout this entire experience we have remained a team, making decisions together, compromising, trying our best to salvage our relationship and turn it into something completely different.
All I can possibly hope for in the future is that we can continue to grow as individuals and as parents. I hope that our child will see that his parents have love for each other, we respect each other and we will always work together to put his needs first. I want my son to know that we are still a family even if it doesn’t look like the other families around us, even if his parents are not together. I hope that our son feels loved unconditionally and when he grows up he can see that his parents did the best they could. I am so grateful for the way this has turned out thus far. It may not be the perfect family unit that I had dreamed of creating for myself but it is a happy, loving, and supportive one. It is a new meaning of family that we have created ourselves and something I am very proud of.
I’m proud of us.