So it began.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite ready for it. I didn’t expect it. And when it happened it completely threw me off.
I had been doing so well, actually. A lot better than I had even anticipated. That was Him and I knew it, immediately. But I wasn’t ready for this.
I don’t think anyone would be.
It started in the Walmart parking lot. We had just parked the car. We needed to run in a get a couple of things. I get it, no one actually likes to go to Walmart and so I took it, at first, as an innocent comment.
“I wish we had a dad to do our grocery shopping,” he said.
I keep forgetting that for over two years we did. We were stuck at home without a car. Running errands and running to the grocery store were things we never had to do. I told him we should be thankful that God has given us a car so we can do these things. I even offered to buy them a treat if they were good.
It didn’t work this time.
I’ve always thought that he understood why I did what I did. Maybe I put too much pressure on him, but I have an open approach. I don’t want to be the parent that lies or covers things up. I keep details at a minimum, but when you live in a 1,200 square foot apartment, it’s not always easy to keep things to yourself.
“Why did you do this? Why couldn’t you just not fight with him? Why couldn’t you have been nicer? Why did you make him leave? Why can’t daddy live with us anymore?”
The tears began to roll. I sat there, unsure of what to do next. What to say next. I knew that none of it really mattered. This was his moment. Not mine. And so I sat, quietly and I just took it.
It was in those moments that I realized I was going to be the bad guy. I was actually going to be the bad guy in this. I think I knew deep down I would be, but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you there was a sense of betrayal.
What I wanted to say was “Seriously?? My fault?? He left. He chose to leave. I didn’t kick him out. I didn’t tell him to go. He did that. I tried. Gosh, did I try. I have been miserable for years because I’ve been doing it on my own and now you think it’s my fault?? He was the one who decided he didn’t want this anymore. Not me. I fought for a long time for things to be different. He gave up. Not me.”
But I didn’t. I just sat there.
I didn’t want to become defensive. I didn’t want to say anything about their dad. Regardless of how I feel or how he’s treated me, he is still their dad. And to them, he is amazing. He is incredible. And I will not be the one to take that away from them. Because I know how much they love him and how much they need him.
And so as the accusations continued to fly at me, in every direction, I began to pray. Lord, what do I do?
‘Love him as I have loved you.’
And so I took it.
I let him say what he needed to say. I let him get it all out. Much like God lets me dish it out to Him. I just took it.
I knew he still loved me. And I knew that he wasn’t actually mad at me. And thanks to someone close to me they offered some amazing insight that when he does lash out at me, it isn’t because he blames me or because he’s mad at me, but it’s because he knows that I am a safe place. He can say those things, any of those things, to me and I will still love him. Unconditionally. And I won’t leave. Nothing will change. And right now, that’s what he needs. He needs to know that not everything will change.
So I’ll be the bad guy. I’ll take the blame. I will let him say whatever is on his mind. Because I know one day, just like it happened with me and my Father, one day he’ll get it. And he will know that everything I did was out of unconditional love for him.
And one day, I know, I’ll get to be the good guy.