It occurred to me recently that my son deserves to know that I didn’t always despise my ex. Someday I want him to know that I used to love his father. And that in his own fucked up way, his father loved me too.
My son deserves to know the truth about love; and the truth is his father and I once built something beautiful.
Though we may have built it on shaky ground, with our eyes half-open, causing its ultimate demise, it was still something special.
And just because we couldn’t save it doesn’t make it any less beautiful than the type of love that lasts forever.
I’ve spent years tearing what we had made apart.
I thought that was what a woman was supposed to do when a man disappoints her. All I wanted to do was move on with my life.
I truly believed I needed to destroy all that we’d shared so I’d never have to look back at it. I thought remembering it as anything beautiful would hurt me too much, so I forgot about the good parts and twisted it into something dark and ugly hoping I’d never find myself pining for it again.
The reality is there were great times before the lies and the cheating. Amazing times, even. And as disrespectful as my ex has been to me, there were moments during our relationship when he was so completely selfless that I know without a doubt what I once felt wasn’t complete bullshit.
For three years he worked long hours to support our family so I could stay at home with our son. I know it was a huge responsibility to have us dependent on him and probably caused him a lot of stress. I got to be there for Aidan’s first words and his first steps, while he missed those moments due to his job. Had he not stepped up to the plate for those three years we might’ve both missed them.
Though it wasn’t what he’d envisioned for himself in his early twenties, he stuck around when I became pregnant. He didn’t have to as he had no obligations to me or our unborn child. But instead of leaving me as a single mother from the beginning, he tried to do what he believed was right. Had he not, I may never have known what it felt like to have a family of three.
There were times we’d just look at each other and there was a love I can’t describe with mere words. They’d surprise us at the end of our days, after we put our son to sleep. We’d sit on the couch next to each other and all of our differences, resentments and worries seemed to melt away. We’d survived another day as partners. A team. Raising this beautiful little person. Together.
It was in all of these examples that a real love was born. It wasn’t lust. It wasn’t conditional.
That love we shared was real.
I can’t forget that, even if there are times I want to. Because someday I want my son to know that his father and I were more than anger, lies and broken promises.
If I look hard enough, there’s still a beautiful love amongst the shattered pieces of who was right and who was wrong.
And that beautiful love made him.