My daughter sent me some of her ideas for her written “artist’s statement.” She needs to include them in her graduate student applications. In her rough draft, she illustrated one of our conversations from the time her dad and I separated.
I did not know how painful this time was for her. How did I miss that? I remember, myself, being in complete agony. I guess I was so consumed by it all that I failed to see what it did to her. There are levels of selfishness.
Could I have changed it? Should I have stopped it?
He left to find better employment. He wanted a job that would allow him to grow, that would use his degrees — Journalism and film making. The plan was that he would finally be financially secure. He thought we’d be back together soon. We assumed that the money, the opportunities were better where he was going. He left for the right reasons — or so we thought.
He said, “Give me one year.” I have given him eight.
In my heart, I knew he wouldn’t be back, not any time soon. For visits, yes, but I knew. And yet….
I could have said, “Don’t go.”
* * * * * * * * * *
I think about this daily. I call it “our situation.” We’ve grown so old and weary since that day he left. Our children: two have graduated from high school, and two have graduated from elementary school and are now in middle school. Our youngest, in diapers when he left, is now in third grade.
And our oldest — the one our decision probably hurt the most — is a senior in college. This is an excerpt from her rough draft: “She slides her fourth cup of coffee across the table to her hands. ‘Well kid, tomorrow’s your first day of High School, you have to decide what you’re doing with your life soon because before you know it, it will be too late.'”
I should listen to my advice.
Better yet, I should obey it.