Our tiny little family has been trying to deal with being let down by someone that we love, over and over and over again. I can say with a certainty that we would not have afforded them so much latitude, for so long, if they were not family.
It is painful for Frank and I as adults who understand human nature, because it hurts our kids. They, in their short lives, have been through enough. We work hard to protect them from the harsh realities of people, because we believe they should have a chance to be children. We don’t want to see them go through unnecessary pain. It is already hard enough for them that they lost Michael, and that Frank’s job takes him far away.
Some bridges that we thought were destroyed completely, are being rebuilt. Despite the pain of the past, this brings our little family joy. There are others though that keep throwing the match. As much as we both try and put out the fires, it has become abundantly clear that we simply need to let go.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love them or that we don’t care for them, it just means that we have accepted that things are as they are. We don’t want to change them, we don’t want to put any more energy into the bridge that connects us, and we don’t want to give them a chance to hurt our children anymore. We understand they will never be the person they keep promising they will be. So the best thing that we can do is remove ourselves from their life. Instead of giving them the power to choose, we are choosing for ourselves.
I think, as a parent, that it can be very hard to decide what to do in situations like this. We want our children to know and be loved by our family members, but just because someone is family doesn’t mean they SHOULD be in our children’s lives. For us, we have to stop focusing on the few people whose actions don’t match their words and start focusing our energy fully on those who are always there.
I’m sure that I will suffer some backlash and maybe even anger. Frank is gone, so all I can do is write the things we have discussed and take the brunt of it. The hardest part will be moving the children toward an understanding of why we don’t see someone who is alive anymore. We will get there though…
I want to be honest and say letting go has been a struggle for me because of my beliefs. I want our children to grow up guided by a simple principle: love. John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” If you read John 15, one thing is abundantly clear, God expects us to love others no matter what. The chapter, I feel, is powerful because God is clear on what he expects of us as his followers. It does not matter who someone is, where they have come from, or what they have done, we are to love them. But does this mean we let them close enough to hurt us? I don’t think so.
In conversation with Frank I have said numerous times, “What do we do?”, “How many times do we try?”, “When is it enough?”. Each time we come to the conclusion that we don’t understand, but we do love this person. That love recently motivated us to try one more time, provide one more opportunity for them to show up (we gave them two). I didn’t tell the kids, just in case, and I was glad. They would have been disappointed. I have come to realize that I’m not removing my love by walking away, I am removing their obligation to be something they are not.
Would I like it to be differently? For them to wake up and rectify the hurt they have caused? Yes, but as Frank reminds me, this is what is normal or on par. We just won’t accept that anymore. I don’t think we are failing that simple principle of love by walking away…
*I think we can simply love each other, but love is rarely that simple. The complexity of love is what makes it hard to let go when we need to.