When long term relationships fail, rarely are the people involved surprised. It's been years of negotiations, of discussions, of trying to work out a plan that works for those involved.
No one is surprised that a final straw has been reached, or a last line crossed.
I have reached that point.
Not with my wife- calm down. My wife is the love of my life and while we've had our ups and downs, we are particularly tight right now.
Except when she wants to spend money.
I tried to create a family for my boys. An expansive one. I never had much family growing up and when I met Jeanine's clan, I was in awe.
And jealous. I wanted that for my kids.
I tried. Deep down, I didn't feel like I was enough. That I could not possibly give the boys all they needed, wanted. In some ways, I think that's true of any child, any where. More people, more love, is always a good thing.
For me, though, it was my mother's voice that said I wasn't enough. I had made a mistake. It wasn't fair to any child to bring them into this world in a lesbian relationship. They would suffer stigma and be outsiders. They would miss out on having a father.
As if that did me personally any good, having one who abused me but let's not go there right now. I knew I wanted a father. One who wasn't creepy, who didn't grunt and say disgusting things.
(She said that to me when I told her I was going to try and get pregnant. Right after she said she was going to move to Australia. I kid you not. She really did say the shame was so great she would have to move to Australia. Canada, clearly, was not far enough.)
Those words gnawed at me for years. My heart knew I did not make any mistake at all. But that voice lived on for many, many years. Even my mother retracted her words eventually. She loved her babies. By the time Jake was born, she was Grandma with a capital G and don't ever question that.
Not enough. I wasn't enough. Jeanine and I together, were not enough. I am not someone to sit by, so I made it happen. I fixed it. Or at least I thought I fixed it.
I don't believe that anymore. Over the last few months, major shifts have happened in our lives, in our kids lives. A final line was crossed. The last straw drawn. It has been devastating for me personally.
It didn't work. Too many unsaid things, too many disappointments, too many hurtful, clueless boundary crossings. When we saw our oldest son suffering, and understood where his pain came from? We slammed doors shut so fast Maxwell Smart wouldn't have made it through.
I can take a lot of shit. You can rain down on me. But my kids? Never. No way.
It's been a few months since that happened. Life has shifted for the kids, for Jeanine and I. The biggest lesson I learned? We are enough. We are most definitely, without question, enough. If I had one lesson learned that I wish I could shout from the rooftops to every two dad or two mom household, it is you are enough.
All those innuendos, and Madison Avenue images that barrage you every day, making you wonder if your kids are missing something in their lives... whispers of straight family members, or people in your community... They are wrong.
Two loving, committed parents (and I don't care if you're divorced- it's about loving and being committed to the kids) are what your kids need.
It took 14 years and a lot of struggle for me to realize that.