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Five years after our family was broken, will my children ever be ok?


The other night a troubling thing happened.

While eating a very lovely dinner of roast chicken (stuffed with rosemary,sage and thyme) and macaroni and cheese, my children and I found a wishbone.  Now I always teach my children that praying is much better than wishing, but they giggled over breaking the bone for fun. 

And then I heard it. My 6-year old son whispered this, “I wish my parents would get back together.”

I was somewhat shocked and a little sad.

My husband left July 2006 and since then I’ve worked tirelessly to keep a stable home environment for them. I left my demanding job to be more present. I am there at nearly every bus drop off and pick up, every school performance and book fair, we have family dinners every night, and I have worked every day to maintain a good co-parenting relationship with the wasband for the good of the children. I tell them that we are still a family, just a different kind of family and I make sure they include their Dad in their nightly prayers. But I’ve also tried to make it abundantly clear that their father and I are happier apart and this is how things will be.

Where have I gone wrong? Should I take it personally that my children are still holding on to a dream that will never (and I do mean never) happen? Or is this what children do for years and years after divorce? Will they ever get it and be okay?

My parents have been married 51 years and I feel blessed that I don’t know what my children are experiencing. But that also leaves me clueless as to what is “normal” for this situation and what is not. You can only read but so many books.

I thought, well hoped, that my efforts would make my children feel normal. That they would accept their new reality and be ok with it. I thought that they were happy and settled in their new life but as it turns out, they are still yearning for their old one.

Am I doing something wrong? Or are they exactly where they are meant to be?

(please check out the many comments on this post, originally posted on Momformation.com

3 Responses to “Five years after our family was broken, will my children ever be ok?”
  1. Marcia Ming says:

    I asked my daughter who is now an adult how to answer your question.

    It’s natural to miss the parent who is not there. But my daughter who watched her parents split up when she was 14, said your son should wish that both of his parents are HAPPY.

    That’s because sometimes everyone including your children are happier when your parents are not together. My daughter is a well adjusted adult who still has both her parents and a step mom in her life. After college and grad school, she is looking forward to raising her own children.

    So do your best and try to keep the other parent in their lives if you can. I wish you the best.

  2. Bola says:

    Hug them and continue doing your best for them. What else is a “walked-out on woman” to do.

  3. Nikki Ham says:

    You first have to realize this is not about you, but more about your child. As the product of divorce and also a child therapist, I can safely say this is not a reflection of what you are not doing. As children there is nothing more secure than the feeling of seeing the two people who came together to create you love one another. Your child loves and appreciates all you do, however that will not change the internal desire to see his or her parents come together. It is more about the symbolism behind the two people who created you returning to a place of love. As your child gets older he/she will be happy that each parent is happy, but for right now it is not about you but more about them.

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