Without question, the worst aspect of modern divorce is the impact it could — and usually does — have on any children involved. As our society moves further away from the paradigm of the American family as established in the 20th century, it would appear that the personal interests of adults have superseded those of the innocent offspring who never asked to be dragged to the depths of the divorce cesspool.
I am a child of divorce. My parents split before I turned one. I spent much of my childhood bouncing from home to home. The little time I spent with either of my parents that I can remember was fraught with upheaval and confusion. For me, “consistency” and “stability” were merely vocabulary words to be studied for homework in fifth grade. Though I didn’t suffer the kind of abuse that might have turned me into a sociopath, for years, I had serious difficulties bonding with people and once lacked any type of parental instinct. As a young adult, I could not conceive of fathering children.
Over the years, the influences of romantic love and other external forces changed my way of thinking. Against all odds, I wound up getting married and having kids. At first, I had no clue how to do the job that nature drafted me to. The learning curve was steep, but I adapted. Not only did I become a hands-on dad, but I morphed into a corporate cog so that I could provide for my young family.
This transformation was, by far, the greatest achievement of an otherwise rudderless life. My family gave me purpose. I took great pride in establishing a foundation for us, keeping us afloat and planning for our future. Then, just when we were moving from establishment to development, the rug was pulled from under my feet. It took maybe 2 years for 12 years of hard work to come toppling down like Las Vegas’s Riviera Hotel.
Fine. As my family and friends constantly remind me, I have talent, health and relative youth on my side. I have a proven history of rising from the ashes. But that’s me. What about the kids?
They have been through the ringer. There is no obfuscating this. Though I would do — and have done — anything to protect them from the emotional turmoil they continue to suffer, the courts have literally and figuratively cuffed my hands. I must tip-toe through a mine field in order to do for my flesh and blood what comes naturally, what is a function of my love for them. It’s extremely frustrating, disheartening and depressing that I have changed my life to be, have been and continue to be a good father, but the only people to acknowledge this are those not empowered to change what “the system” has put in place. Regardless, I will soldier on. My kids are my world. I will never stop doing what I must to provide for them, to nurture them, to encourage them, to teach them, to advise them and above all, to love them. Whatever it takes. Whatever.
Joscelyn and Julien, never doubt me, my love for you or my dedication to doing what is best for you. For me, it’s always been about you.