12 holiday seasons have passed since I learned the truth, 10 since I left the crazy circle of lies, double speak and denial. I remember how attached I was back then to trying to keep everything as close to the same for the kids as possible.
I was reflecting yesterday how different the holidays are now. Aside from the children being much older, I am older and wiser. I have been able to exhale and truly create that safe space in which all of us can heal.
There are no “have to’s” no “shoulds”. We celebrate how we want to, in a way that feeds us. This year, we “adopted” another family and bought gifts for them. As in years past, the parents ask for the bare necessities- towels, dishes, pots and pans. The kids ask for what kids typically ask for- clothes with the right label, the “in” toys. The highlight was volunteering as a family at the gift distribution. Perspective and gratitude were the main lessons.
The kids spent Christmas Eve with Mark as is now the tradition. Tony and I went to a friend’s home for their annual gathering. Christmas Day, the kids came over after noon, we opened gifts and then went to dinner followed by a movie.
Life is so much easier now. I remember the fear and anxiety that hung around my shoulders like a heavy cloak. I was told in so many ways how unnatural and selfish my decision to leave was. Apparently it’s unnatural for a woman to have a chance at giving her children and herself an authentic life.
It’s not uncommon for mothers to put their children first- that’s our nature. However, it is considered unnatural to remember yourself in the equation.
My hope is that if you are in a similar situation and living a lie to keep the family together- no matter how dysfunctional, that you remember yourself. Remember your true nature- before you became the investigator, the wounded woman, the beaten down, exhausted quarterback of a team that has no strategy or plan.
I am not suggesting that the only way to reclaim yourself is to separate and divorce. You have your own path. I am suggesting that YOU get to matter. You get to make space to hear your own truth. Take time to go for a walk- alone. Meditate, run, practice yoga- whatever moves your energy and clears your head. It is okay to tell yourself the truth. No decisions need to be made. Today, consider being willing to just breathe and listen.