It’s taken me six years to be able to have the courage to write this letter. I think six years is a good number, a good indicator of time, of seasons passing and new seasons beginning.
In the beginning months after your life unraveled as a result of my life unraveling I lived in this deep fear. This worry that I forever ruined your lives and that you never would be the same. It’s ironic now, honestly, because whoever stays the same? But my mind wouldn’t slow down and I would read all these statistics and how kids from broken homes struggled and how you were now being put into a category that was labeled the infamous product of divorce.
Well, kids, to be a product you have to multiply two variables and while divorce might be one variable it’s not the only one. All of those articles miss out on the years after, the strength found within and that despite a really negative variable amazing results can happen. They forget the years that follow and how you can take something that was so hard and use it to your advantage.
I see your resilience.
I see your compassion.
I see your kindness.
I see your empathy.
I see your love for moments.
I see your tenacity.
I see your willingness to take that negative and create a beautiful life.
Divorce is one of those things that fragments a story. I get that. I see that. I’ve seen you wrestle with memories and how the memories become shadows of a story that is no longer the one lived. I’ve seen you grieve and get angry and mourn. I’ve seen you pick yourself up and gather the pieces and create a new identity, one of a person with a broken place that doesn’t need to stay broken.
I’ve also seen you, in these seven years, become more comfortable and confident in the story of now, versus lingering in what once was. I’ve seen a peace fill your spirit and in it hope again. I’ve seen us laugh and I’ve seen the joy fill our house and souls with such redeeming grace.
You see, life rarely looks like we want. I know this wasn’t the story I imagined for you. I never would have wanted you to endure the heartache and the loss. I still don’t like the ripples, the ricochet moments that affect you. I hate that part. But I cannot stay in the hate part. I have to look at the now, the you seven years later. I see that through time, healing happens. Perspective happens. Joy returns. Normal returns.
I see you thrive.
I see you give.
I see you excel.
I see you speak up.
I see your bravery.
You aren’t alone, honestly. There are so many kids, so many adults in this space, too. So many just starting out, not on year seven, but day seven, week seven, month seven. So many kids wrestling with words and thoughts that it was their fault. Oh kids, if there is anything I wish to have impressed upon your hearts it is that it was not your fault. I’ve told it to you over and over and over and sometimes I think it’s the mantra I want you to hear.
You are good.
You are wonderful.
You are what makes me smile.
You are enough.
So everyday for the rest of our days walking this earth together I will remind you of your worth. I will tell you how proud I am of you. I will push you to go after your dreams. And I will teach you about love. That love is a sacred, beautiful gift.
You are not the product of divorce, my sweet kids.
You are you. With your story, your courage. Oh the world will try to give you labels, including others beyond this. Don’t ever let labels define your potential. Don’t let them squash your identity. Don’t let them define.
Be you, boldly.
You are quite amazing.
If anything you are a product of a life lived.
original words by Rachel Marie Martin