I thought I would be numb right now. I thought that I would be in the throes of misery. Tonight should have been one of the most terrible experiences of my life. Why, oh why, do I feel calm and peaceful, serene?
Tonight we had a family meeting. We told our kids what is about to happen.
I made a decision earlier this week, after listening to my wife waffle, after trying to find a solution to our family Christmas holiday that would be fair to not only my children, but to my family. After all, my wife had called my mother a few weeks ago and initiated a conversation that pretty much ensured that she would not be welcome at my family’s Christmas celebration. The result of that phone call made it nearly impossible for us to wait to tell our children about our divorce until after Christmas. With that in mind, I texted my daughter, found out when her last college final exam would be (Wednesday of this week), asked when she would be home (this afternoon). My decision was a tough one, one that could not be shared with my wife because she would not go along with it. I doubted the wisdom also, but my gut told me to do it. Wednesday night, I talked to my daughter, told her that her mother would not be going with us this Saturday to celebrate Christmas with my family. Her mother had a falling out with my parents.
You and I both know that would not fly with my daughter, especially if you know my daughter. I called her from my car, on the way home from a meeting. Before I arrived home, she had already texted her mother and asked what was going on. My wife was not happy with me, not just because I had put her in a bad position, but because she claimed I had lied when I said she had a falling out with my parents. I didn’t fight with her, simply reminded her of the phone call that she had made and the circumstances that were created as a result. It was true that earlier this week she had offered to go to my family Christmas, my mother advising her against it. That was why she was claiming that I had lied to our daughter.
A portion of my decision rested on the fact that I knew my daughter would have a day to think about things. She would have the support of her friends. She would be able to meet with a counselor she has been seeing at her college. My girl is strong. She does not avoid. When she got home, she talked with her mother for a while, then requested a family meeting to find out what was going on.
I am very glad that she did. We sat down as a family, calmly, and my wife and I gave our children the news.
“This is something that should have happened a long time ago, for the sake of all of us.” My daughter delivered that statement with resolve. And she is right.
As suspected, she was not surprised. My son feigned surprise, tried to act angry, but it was weak, something I think he may have already rehearsed and realized that it wasn’t the best. He retreated, went up to his room. Nate is going to require some space, but he is also going to require the most care, I think.
At the moment, tonight seems to have needed to happen when it did. Now the gorilla has been dismissed. We can celebrate Christmas together in a week, knowing that we still have some time together in the home that we have shared.