My body jolts awake from a deep, seemingly immovable sleep. As if it was a continuation from a dream, my eyes immediately fill with tears. I rub the raw and sensitive skin under my eyes and sit forward. 5:40. Ughhh… my morning to sleep in. I walk quietly to the bathroom to wash the emotions away. As I brush my teeth, my sore jaw screams back at me- a clear sign that I must have been grinding my teeth through the night.
I throw the yoga mat out onto the floor and spread it wide with my feet. The annoyingly cheerful yogi calls instructions out from the TV. As I move through the practice, my mind has trouble focusing. I lay down. Maybe an early shavasana will help. I have a teacher that asks her class to ‘locate what hurts and focus your breath there.’ What hurts is in my mind, my heart. That feels more complicated than just a shoulder. I try to focus my breathing and think of my impending time with Landon. Instead… my chest begins to tighten. The yoga teacher falls away and I realize the impending emotion. Like that sort of friend that brings out a not-so-awesome side of you, anger has arrived by my side. Deep, seething, face reddening and stomach aching anger.
I rush into the next room and find the kindest smile and face I’ve ever seen. “I can’t breathe. I need you,” I stammer. He makes me lie back and walks me through a body scan meditation. From my forehead to my toes I breathe into each part of my body and into the emotions. I focus on his calm and deep voice. We breathe as deeply as our lungs will allow.
As we near my toes I let out a soul gripping, bawling cry. One I’ve had in me for some time and fought not to release. Once I regain control, I wipe my face clean and explain that it was the fight with Landon’s father that stole the breath right out of me. That what he and I exchanged startled me, awoke emotions I haven’t felt in years. What he said, what I responded with… all of it was painful.
Trading pain for more pain.. the saddest way to be with one another.
All it takes is a few days of arguing and it seemed like we were right back in the proverbial ring. Him lashing out at me for leaving, for him missing time with Landon; me throwing every ounce of past pain back in his face, for my missing time with Landon. Round and round we went. You could almost hear a bell ring and I fully expected a referee to call us to our corners.
Sometimes one awful, saddening and painful conversation can make you feel like the friendly work and careful steps forward over a year’s time are erased. I thought about if he were just someone I’d dated in my twenties and this is when my girlfriends would cheers me with wine and say ‘aren’t you so glad you are done?’ And his friends would buy him a shot and pat him on the back- celebrating the finality. But we aren’t done.
We will invariably be tethered to one another by this beautiful, incredible child. By the girl that taught me love.
I knew that anger-filled, breathless morning what I have always known since she was born… I have to forgive. He has to forgive. We will both always have to find it in our hearts. And we have. The raw emotions we upended- that were strewn about carelessly that day are neatly tucked back in their cases.
As I said on her birthday… there’s no alternative … she is all that matters.
She needs to hear kind words exchanged. She deserves to see us smile in each other’s direction. She should have her parents able to be by her side physically and emotionally. The only time she will be in the middle is if he has one hand and I the other. That commitment can be excruciating, but it’s everything.
Fights will happen, feelings will inevitably be hurt. This process is raw, it makes you uncomfortably vulnerable. Forgiveness is the path forward for the child. And that is everything.
Food for thought…