Mandy at Since My Divorce asked us about our children's adjustment to divorce. How did they feel then? How do they feel now? Ironically enough, we just had the chance to find out.
We got word that X is back in jail. We don't know yet for how long, but the reaction this time was different for all of us. It was a 5-minute conversation, and easily followed by focusing on the events going on.
The first two, 4, 5 times the girls were told X was in jail, it was unbelievably difficult for all of us. They'd cry, I'd cry, and we'd all be a mess for a while. We'd go back to therapy, get ourselves normalized again, and then hold our breath when X would get out, wondering what would happen now.
Riley asked why they even needed to know. Just so they'd know that they wouldn't be hearing from him, wouldn't be able to return texts or calls. As it is, they don't text or call often. Sylvia said the last time she texted was Father's Day. Even then, she wasn't surprised that he didn't reply.
I'm sure they're sad about it, but they clearly don't want to dwell on it. And they do have so much going on right now that is good in their lives.
Riley loves her new school, Sylvia loves her animation class and is starting her dance classes. Nothing has changed about what's good in their lives. They stopped waiting for their dad to show up a long time ago.
Oh, sure, if they thought there was a possibility they would see him, they would love that. They have accepted him for who he is, and love him because he's their father. But there is no expectation that he'll be there for them. And that has made all the difference.
My colleague commented on how much has changed since the first time I heard he was in jail. Not so much for X, but for us. I'm proud that these last 8 years have brought about so much growth in all of us, and thankful for all the support we've had along the way; from friends, family, therapists, and of course, you thoughtful, compassionate readers.