Note to my 2 grown sons:
In packing up my ďthingsĒ to move in with SO I find myself not only letting go of physical stuff, but a lot of emotional baggage thatís been following me around for the last 8 years. I might not always have handled things with the divorce in the correct way, but I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time.
I hope you are not harboring ill will towards your Dad for what happened. It was certainly a time of insanity for him and I see him still struggling for equilibrium.
The thing is Ė since Iím looking back at this with a little more life experience Ė if he had not had the affair we might still be married, but Iím not sure I would have been happy. We had fallen into a comfortable place after raising you both. Itís impossible to judge accurately because I have changed and grown so much in these 8 years. I would NOT have been happy with him wanting to stay home all the time and watch TV. Iím sure I would have gone my own way (while remaining married) to have some adventures and live life on my terms. In fact, I had thought about it before all this happened. I was going to travel and have fun with or without him.
I have to take 50% of that on myself. I was a very protective and involved Mother (as Iím sure you both know). I did the majority of raising you, not because he was not wanting to be involved, but because I wanted the control. He worked long shifts at the CoOp and so sometimes I was like a single parent. At the time I thought I wanted more help from him, but to be entirely honest, I felt I was the best at making decisions. Iím afraid I may have made a triangle with you two that put him on the outside.
If you don't feel he is making enough effort in your relationship now it's because I was always there helping/encouraging/directing and now I'm not.
When you both left home, we lost focus. You were the glue that held us together for 23 years, and then you were gone. I started plans for my ďfreedomĒ from everyday parenting Ė your dad lost his way and looked for something/someone to make him feel better. We didnít have a strong enough foundation as a couple to weather the empty nest storm.
As I see you both with your own families, I want you to work not to let the same thing happen to your relationships. Itís very easy to let the everyday mundane duties of raising a family take over your entire life. Keep that spark alive in your relationships Ė talk to each other about things other than money and children. Someday you will be done raising the kids and then you need to continue with your partner. A strong foundation needs to be built way before that.
Take an active part in raising the kids and building relationships with them - more than just playing or discipline. Get to know them, let them know they can lean on you as well as their mother. Be actively involved in their lives more than just when their mother asks you to. Build a foundation that can withstand the storms that life may throw your way.
Think about these things as you look at your relationship with your dad. Do not make the same mistakes we made.
And to end on a happy note, I am enjoying my life to the fullest. Iím so LUCKY to have found SO at this time in my life. I realize nothing is forever, but Iím thankful for the time we are sharing together.
Love you both more than you will ever know,