I always knew I wanted to have children, even if I was uncertain about whether I would ever get married. My sensibility that marriage was not a necessary prerequisite of parenthood was the result of my own experience growing up without having a father in my life. Or maybe it was another example of my being ahead of the curve, yet again, with the single parenthood trend so popular these days with celebrities. Either way, children were a given, marriage was an uncertainty. Now, that was truly premonitory!
During my marriage, I absolutely valued the advantages of there being two involved parents in the lives of our children. From the minute Liam was born, his father’s presence provided nurturing attention which I was unable to supply in my C-section induced stupor. The physically demanding years of babyhood and toddler stage would probably have done me in without a partner to share the weight of the load. I imagine the teen years will require an equal amount of exertion to survive. Fortunately, the children will always have two parents who love them, support them and want them to be secure and happy in their lives – that's not going to change.
On the occasions when I projected into the future and imagined what my personal life would look like post-marriage, I was certain that I would never be interested in marrying a second time. I mean, what was the point? I already had all the biological babies I was going to have and without children in the equation, what is the true purpose of marriage? Is it a financial arrangement? A means to obtain health insurance and other benefits? It seems that marriage is more a practical arrangement than a logical step on an emotional journey. Or, am I all wrong?
Like marriage, divorce is also about the children. How do the adult members of a family manage to separate from one another without leaving the children feeling abandoned? How much is shared with them, and at what point are they allowed to express what they may want and need in the new family configuration? Is it really possible to maintain a family while ending a marriage? It seems that with every inevitable decision questions are created, which is overwhelming at times. I know others that have been through this process and will definitely be looking to them for support, guidance and advice as we negotiate this new path. The connection between adults within a marriage may evolve, but the commitment to the children remains consistent. It is about the kids.