by Glennon Doyle Melton
One of our toughest jobs as parents is to allow our kids to weather life’s storms.
My daughter Tish once came home from school and told me her friend’s parents were getting divorced. She asked, “Mom, will that ever happen to us?” I looked straight at her and said, “No, baby. It won’t. You’re safe.” A year later, her father and I split. When we delivered this news to our kids, I watched my little girl’s face fall as it began to dawn on her that despite my reassurance, what she’d feared had come to pass. As she processed the reality of our ruptured family and my abandoned promise, I felt like a witness to the end of her childhood. It was the single most difficult moment of my life because it was the hardest of hers.
My greatest fear is that I’ll fail my kids. I agree with Jacqueline Kennedy, who said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” I’d bungled parenting. I felt like a failure.
We did our best to transition out of being an intact, whole family gracefully and respectfully. We ate Sunday dinners together, my ex moved into a house seven doors away, and we spoke only kindly of each other. None of that eased what my children were going through. They were each suffering in their own ways. I resigned myself to doing the best I could as the new kind of parent I was: the failing kind…