When you are four months comfortably pregnant, enjoying those gauzy fantasies about what life will be like when baby arrives, you dream up some magical scenarios; laughing with your family of four over a joyful family game night; snuggling on the couch with the tot in the middle, blissfully watching the latest Disney Blu-ray; or, for me, riding home as hubby drives, the whole family exhausted but thrilled after a picturesque day of skiing in a Colorado mountain town.
Divorce = Loss of Dreams
When divorce enters the picture, it isn’t just the loss of a relationship that hurts. No, it’s the loss of all of those dreams, all of those visualized experiences. I personally was ready to divorce. It certainly wasn’t the plan when I underwent IVF for my hard-fought twins, but it was necessary. Facing single parenting with two toddlers was terrifying, but the alternative was worse.
After the divorce, I felt an ache deep within that I struggled to explain. The marriage was clearly broken. For the two of us, it was absolutely the only answer. So why was I so sad?
I’m not ashamed to say it was my mother who answered that for me. You see, I wasn’t mourning the loss of him. I was mourning the loss of ALL. THOSE. DREAMS. No ski trips. No family movie night. And no Friday night Monopoly.
Or Was There?
Now seven years blissfully past that terrifying time, I see just how wrong I was. How silly of a conclusion I’d drawn. Of Course I still had a family. Of Course we would make memories (and we have). The dreams didn’t need to be forgotten. They simply needed to be Re-Imagined.
The thought is not my own. The challenge actually came from my therapist. Hearing it was one thing. Okay, I thought. That makes sense. I knew I could picture making memories. I committed to try and try and try to visualize we three Musketeers (husband not included) driving up Highway 24 to Breckenridge. Then, I willed myself to do it.
And I did, for a few minutes—as much time as any single mom has to spend on herself. For that brief reprise the thought was mildly comforting. It came and went as life got busy and school began and ex-issues continued. I had all but forgotten about it when it happened.
The New Dream
It was Labor Day in Woodland Park. Delightfully dirty, exhausted from days on the lake and tired in the way only camping with children can make you, we three Musketeers were driving down Highway 24. We pulled into the Hungry Bear for our first hot breakfast in three days, relatively unconcerned by our tent-mussed hair and dusty bodies. We sat down to eat, laughing about the time we’d had, fantasizing about the meal to come, basking in bonds we strengthened on our little adventure.
And that’s when it hit me. As though I was watching the scene from the outside, I saw it. This was the memory. This was the dream. It was re-imagined, yes, but It had come true.
And it was glorious.