“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” – Pema Chodron
My soon to be ex husband was here a few weeks ago. He had been sent to Australia for a surfing trip and decided to come and visit Bo. They hadn’t been in the same place as each other for just over 12 months. The top photo is more than a year ago, on a different beach, in a different part of Australia, the last time we were all together. The bottom photo is Bo and her dad, a few weeks ago. Memories that I hope she holds on to. Happy times. Ice cream and waves. Playgrounds and laughter. Even now when I show her these photos, she climbs up on my lap and tells me about the day she went to the playground at the beach with her daddy. She laughs as she repeats funny things that happened, she smiles and I can tell she’s already created fond memories for herself from this time.
Time with her dad is so rare and so fleeting, and probably always will be. I watch her and I try to gauge what she needs from me. I try to navigate the minefield of my own feelings so that I can give more of myself to her, so that I make sure that priorities are defined by what is truly necessary and not just by what I feel. The time she spends with her father is time when I sit close by, far enough away to give them the space to have their own time, but close enough to be there when she needs to check in with me for a quick cuddle or a reassuring word.
Close enough to feel the sting of old broken dreams but still far enough away that they no longer blind me.
Some days I feel terribly far from being grown up, I feel stuck in a cycle of guilt and forgiveness… giving myself grief for not having it all figured out yet. Wondering why I still feel that burn of betrayal every now and again. Wondering how that will inform new relationships… allowing myself to feel and to breathe and at the same time not allowing it to affect the relationship my daughter has with her father – a relationship that is my responsibility to encourage and to capture the memory of, for Bo’s sake. A relationship that is not mine, but that I am responsible for, at least for now.
Balance is an elusive beast at times, isn’t it? Finding room for the pain and the grief and the joy and the love and the truth.
Finding room in the heart for it all.