family, redefined

The other day, my oldest daughter and I were sitting in a fast food joint and enjoying a little time together. Being one on one with any of my kids is a sweet opportunity for connection. Abby has been an especially wonderful compatriot through the past 16 months, however.

We were silently watching two or three families walk in, order their food, and take their place at a table. There was a common thread to the groups we saw…several kids and two parents.

Two parents.

After carefully weighing my words, I asked Abby…

“Does it ever make you mad? Seeing them together when we don’t have that in our family anymore?”

“Yes. It does. I’m happy for them, but it makes me mad.”

Thanksgiving is next week. Going back to my childhood home without my wife is nothing new. She hasn’t accompanied the kids and me for almost a decade, actually. And it’s the second holiday season since she left, so even going back to visit my family as a separated man is not new.

It’s my first time as a separated man who has divorce papers sitting on the counter in my bathroom, though. The bathroom counter that used to serve two people.

Two parents.

Two.

I’m trying today to not be mad. To not be lonely. To not be hurt.

Today, I’m trying…

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