I once heard a story: On his daughter’s wedding day, the father approached his future son-in-law. “Son,” he said, “I want to give you some advice. I’m not saying this because you are marrying my daughter, but because I am married to her mother. You can be right, or you can be happy, but you will NOT be both.”
This has become a popular saying in my family now. While it’s a funny story, there is also some truth to it. I come from two very opinionated families. I grew up believing that if you want your side to be heard, you just talk louder and faster than the other person. Seems simple enough. At family gatherings, it’s not uncommon for me to carry on two or three (maybe four) conversations at one time, and they are not always with people in the same room. That’s OK: I am a loud talker. This is my “normal.”
Let’s review: I talk loudly, I talk very fast, and I am never wrong. I may not be right, but I’m never wrong. There’s a difference. If I have to explain it to you, you won’t get it.
Two nights ago, I was faced with a choice: shut up, be wrong, and get out of the way, or life as you know it will cease to exist. Done.
Really? That is unacceptable. Do you know why? BECAUSE I AM RIGHT! It gets worse. If I have to be “not right,” I will not be happy. Oh no way. NO WAY IN HELL. NEVER. Because this is all WRONG. Decisions being made will change life as I know it anyway. Maybe not as bad as the ultimatum, but I think still rather devastating.
This is what makes it SO unacceptable: This is about children. Kids. MY kids. Oh wait, they are not really mine. I’ve just helped raise them for the last nine or ten years. My vote doesn’t count. My opinion isn’t wanted. My feelings do not matter. All of the positive things I have done for them are not even acknowledged. There are a LOT of moments I was there when others weren’t. It all means nothing.
Here is the kicker. I do have a child in the middle of all of this. And it’s pretty much summed up as this: sacrifice the two that aren’t mine, for the one that is. Of course, when everything goes to hell, I will certainly be in the middle cleaning up the mess. There is no way to keep me out of it when it impacts my life. There is no way to keep my child out of this. It will impact him as well.
This isn’t even about trust. This is about letting go. I feel these children are lost to me. I have to remember they were never mine. They are His (and his and hers). I have to place this in the hands of God. I find no comfort in this yet. It’s not over. I’m not sure this can even be repaired or that I may truly lose them. I do know have no control over this.
Yet in the middle of this, laundry must be done, dishes need to be washed, soccer practice continues and I will still go to my 50+ hr a week job, while trying to run a household while being neither right nor happy. Life goes on.