There is no avoiding the tremendous loss children of divorce feel: an inherent sense of vital aspects of their sacred lives and hearts divided. I remember before we consciously chose to separate (when Araela was 5 and Ezra only 18 months old) I feared and grieved and prayed towards this inevitable aspect of our separation: how would we continue to nurture our beautiful, innocent, beloved children’s sense of family, of cohesion, from two separate homes, from a broken marriage still deeply alive with wounds and scars, grief, disappointment and remorse? How would we continue to transmit to them that which remains whole? That which cannot be broken by a transformation of form? That which prevails?? And so, naturally, organically, these “family hugs” were born, from the very beginning of our divorce~ and we have made a practice of it, even during the times when energy has felt more stagnant or challenged between Chris and I~ to create a simple ritual wherein the children can feel the still-present field of the union which brought their amazingly cherished forms into being. And to remind all of us, presently, consciously, viscerally, that our union was founded in love; in REAL love. That they were conceived in love, and born into love. And that now, still, with all the water under the bridge, all the real-life challenges Chris and I face in this post-marriage equation~ financially, circumstantially, relationally~ that still they are so deeply held, profoundly by both of us, inside an awesome truth of love. That this LOVE itself is the continuum. Love is what remains unbroken, even through the ever-changing forms.
Yesterday it just so happened that Ezra (5 now) responded to the family hug call first, while Araela remained upstairs in her bedroom, and so Chris and I got to shower him together with some individual attention and love. Our baby son. Our little star-warrior sunbeam boy who we consciously conceived with powerful intention, prayer and surrender. We held him together, telling him simultaneously how much we adore him. And then, suddenly, Ezra pulled back. His legs were in Chris’ lap and his upper body and copper-curled head supported in my arms. His eyes suddenly looked filled with sorrow, his little arms wrapped around himself in comfort, his mouth drooped in frown. And then he said to us, so earnestly, so bravely, carefully finding the words he wanted to share: “Mama? Papa? Why? Why do you not want to be together and have us all live together in the same house? I wish you did. Sometimes? I feel so sad about it.” Chris’ and my eyes met inside a deep gulp of poignant pain to feel our sweet son’s grief so transparently exposed. Then Ezra looked at me and with genuine yearning said: “Why? Why did you…REFUSE it?”
Oh my goodness. Why did I refuse it? Why did we? I took a deep breath and said, carefully, honestly: “That makes sense that you would wish for your Mama and Papa to live in the same house. Yes it IS sad to feel that. And Mama and Papa tried living together and being married to each other for a long time. And there were things we loved about all living together as a family. We both love you and your sister so much, and it was wonderful to all be together. But Papa and I realized even though we love each other, we couldn’t be LOVES, and partners in that way of living in the same home. And so we decided to make a change and have two homes for loving you guys.” Chris nodded and added, beautifully: “I think Mama and I came together for this beautiful purpose of bringing you and your sister into the world. And now we get to love you both, together, in this new way.” And then Ezra looked over at our photo altar, covered in the photos of our extended family and blessed tribe of kin, and, referring to a picture of when he was still a baby, he asked: “Is that a time when Papa still lived in our house?” And, with my tender heart welled up in joy and grief I responded: “Yes.” And then Chris reached for the framed photo I keep on the altar of the four of us, from before we separated, and wordlessly he handed it to Ezra. Ezra took it in deeply, happily, smiling as he counted all of us, naming us in the picture as though he had never seen it before. And soon Araela came down for her turn. And the energy shifted, Chris said his goodbyes, I returned to preparing the kids for bed.
Another evening passed of navigating family in this present form that is given to us to somehow attend with skill and grace. And what a gift to stay so intimately connected to the grief, to the love, to the mystery and the blessing of truth telling. I am so grateful that for all our continuous and real challenges Chris and I navigate, and all the ways we perceive and relate to life from vastly different perspectives, that we remain so devotedly on the same, profound page: of nurturing our children’s knowing of how loved they are, supporting their deepest, most honest expression of their hearts, and their visceral knowing, in the core of their bodies and beings, of this sacred circle of unbroken family they are held within. <3