Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trying to Get Kimmy to Strive to be Like the Apostle Paul...

I have apparently taken a two month hiatus from blogging. My wonderfully supportive husband has pointed out that I should be writing, but I have been so busy that my blogging had to be put on hold. I have many topics to write about that I will get to in the coming days.

My 7-year old daughter Kimmy has had the hardest time with all of the transitions in our life: my divorce from her dad, our move out of state, and my new marriage. At first, she seemed to welcome all the change. She rallied in support of moving and my marrying Scott and after witnessing her dad almost kill me, wanted nothing to do with him. But, once her dad started to manipulate her, in my opinion, her attitude towards it all started to change. She has asked a lot of really hard questions. It is hard to explain adult topics to a 7-year-old, but on the other hand, I feel she deserves some answers. And I hope that she can learn from these situations as well.

For example, one day she begged me to know why her dad and I couldn't just say we were sorry and make things all better. How do you explain to a child why you absolutely cannot stay married to such a man? Or that you TRIED to do that over and over again? And how do you convey to your daughter that she should NOT marry someone with the qualities that her dad possesses without badmouthing him and damaging the father/daughter relationship that courts and psychologists alike deem so very important? I don't know and this is still a fine line that I find myself trying to navigate.

Yesterday, Kimmy begged an audience with me. What was her topic of choice? She wanted us to uproot and move back to our hometown. She wanted my husband to quit his job and forget his 9 years of seniority (who needs a paycheck anyways, right?), for us to leave this house that we just spent $80,000 adding on to as well as very recently refinancing, for all of us to pack up and move for the third time in a little over a year, she and her sister to change schools for the 4th time in as many years, for me to go back into the same environment as my abusive and psychotic ex-husband...all because she liked our hometown better and had more friends. At first I was angry. I was becoming tired of having to justify myself to her and dealing with her sudden change in loyalty. I was livid at her suggestion that I didn't care about her and wouldn't do anything for her (she will never know all I did for her). A few weeks ago, she was plotting to run away back to our hometown and live with her dad. I told her that we would absolutely NOT move back and it was ridiculous to even think about it. I explained all the reasons not to, as listed above, and left her in tears.

I calmed down a bit and thought back to my teenage years. My mom and dad fought a lot and often mom would leave the house with us kids. Sometimes she would want to head to Oklahoma to live with her sister. I would always berate her and talk her out of it. Why? There was no love lost between me and my dad in those days. I hated my hometown and couldn't wait to leave when I was old enough. Pure and simple, I was selfish. I had friends or a boyfriend that I didn't want to leave behind. I didn't want to start over in a new state. And while I believe a seven-year-old can recover from a move easier than a high school student can, I began to understand and empathize with her feelings.

I went to her more humbly than before and told her that story about my parents. Sometimes now I wish I hadn't talked my mom into staying in Kansas. I wonder what would have been different if we had left. Going through a nightmare marriage myself, I can start to feel bad that I terrorized my mom into staying in hers. (Thank God that I didn't wait until the kids were teenagers to divorce their dad!) I explained to her that even though she thinks it is the end of the world right now and swears she will go back to our hometown as soon as she is 18, I believe in the next 11 years, this will become home to her. She will have spent more time in Missouri than she did in Kansas. I told her that she will make friends that she will feel like she couldn't have imagined her life without, the kind of friends that last a lifetime. I told her that I stayed in contact with NONE of my friends that I knew in second grade or earlier. The friends I have now are those I made upwards of third grade. And I told her again that this is the best choice for us, that it is my responsibility to make decisions that are best for us, and that we will NOT be going back there. And I explained to her that she has a decision to make. She can choose to hate the situation and make herself miserable and make everyone around her miserable and not make any friends and grow up a very messed up kid or she can choose to accept it and look for the good in it and be happy.

The situation took a very humorous turn when my husband chimed in with the evening's devotion, which just so happened to be about being happy. We talked about the apostle Paul and how he learned to be content even in prison. I burst out laughing when he quoted Philippians 4:11b "for I have learned in whatever STATE I am, to be content."

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