Life Lesson #2: forgive and let live.

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One year ago today my water broke.

Talk about shock.

I was on the phone with April.

I was laughing.

Then *pop*.

(I really wish we remembered what we were talking about!)

I couldn’t tell you how much time passed between the incident and when I got checked into the hospital. Though, it couldn’t have been more than an hour and a half. If that. But, I can in almost painstaking detail remember every move I made around the house, the phone calls I made. I remember standing and leaning over my bed and pacing in front of my dresser as I spoke to the on call OB. She was so sweet and encouraging, telling me how well babies do even at just 32 weeks. Hundreds of calls were placed between friends, texting and calling S. I remember standing in my family room as I called my mom and tried to calmly tell her there was no reason to panic, everything was fine, but that I needed her to know my water *might* have broken and I was heading into the hospital. I ran around trying to pack myself a bag – finally giving up because I had absolutely no clue what I would even need aside from my insurance card and a towel. I had a pizza in the oven – I didn’t think to take it out, but I did remember to turn off the oven. I stood in the mirror and examined my belly. It was so much smaller already and 1,000s of jumbled thoughts ran through my head at a million miles an hour about what it all meant. (When I was checked via ultrasound at the hospital, I was down to about 20% of my amniotic fluid left.)

I knew it meant Charlie’s arrival into the world was imminent. Yet the only clear thought I could form was, “But my baby shower was schedule for this weekend. I’m not going to get a baby shower now. Of course I’m not. Of course this is happening to me. I never get anything in the traditional way!

S was unreachable. As family friends rushed over to drive me to the hospital, I just kept screaming “WHERE IS S?! IS HE OK? IS HE DEAD?”

The way all of that shook out about S’s short period of being MIA . . . well, it was really upsetting to me. I felt lied to and misled, because he wasn’t where he originally told me he was.

The fact he wasn’t available didn’t sit well with my family and friends either. It caused a lot of tension and stress that week. I didn’t have the time to care or bother dealing with it. As a result, the weight of that betrayal didn’t really set in for some time, since we had much bigger fish to fry that day. That week. That month.

Over the next few months, though, the fact he was unreachable started to blow up in my mind. I started to go a little crazy over it. I started not believing anything he told me about his whereabouts and just getting resentful and angry over anything and everything that he did. I remember one afternoon he said he was leaving to run errands. I called April and told her I didn’t believe him and told her I was 90% sure he had to be cheating. I googled how to tell if your spouse is cheating on you and tried so hard to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Honestly, I was driving myself completely and unnecessarily mad. Add in one colicky newborn preemie, sleep deprivation and the emotional hormonal roller coaster that is postpartum and last summer was an incredibly miserable time for me on the whole.

Needless to say, I was channeling a lot of my anger and resentment into that one incident and trying to assign a bigger meaning to it.  It was a very unhealthy obsession and wasn’t solving anything by focusing on it. At the end of the day though, I can’t change the fact he wasn’t there when I went into labor. And, really, who was expecting me to go into labor anyway? No one.

Over the past year, I’ve had to make peace with a lot of things that have happened and learn to let it roll off my back and say, it is what it is. My story isn’t unfolding like I thought it would or should and it’s natural to want to assign blame on someone else, or stay obsessed with isolated incidents to take the pain off of focusing on bigger issues. You can’t move forward while living in the past, though. And the only way to let go and move on from the past is to forgive and let live.

That means I need to forgive S. If I ever want to have a civil, respectful relationship with him in the future, for the sake of co-parenting our son, I have to forgive and let live.

A lot of people are confused by my current relationship with S. We have been co-parenting well and due to Charlie’s age, we still cross paths a lot and end up spending time with Charlie together. I suppose I could have taken a hard line and iced him out more, but what would have have accomplished other than denying my son the opportunity to bond with his dad?

I think the problem many of us have with forgiveness is that it feels like it’s condoning whatever happened. And we think forgiveness only benefits the person it’s granted to. But, I don’t think forgiving validates or enables hurtful behavior – it just means you’re accepting it happened and are not going to let it destroy you or have any power over you anymore. Being angry and resentful is exhausting work! And in this case, would also directly impact my son. And there is no one or no thing I love more in this world than my Charlie. And I know it’s only going to benefit him as well if I can sincerely forgive his father and show him a cooperative and respectful co-parenting relationship.

Now, I can’t say I’m 100% there on the forgiveness train. It’s a work in progress. But, I have made huge strides and I’d say I’m 90% there. I think the last stretch is extending that same grace I’ve extended to S, to myself. I messed up here, too. But, it happened. It’s over.

Time to let go of the monkey bars and move on . . . because new adventures await!

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