Leaving My Family
By Lara Capuano on January 23, 2014
I have a secret fear that one day I will snap and totally abandon my family.
(Honey, if you are reading this - and you better be reading this - calm down, it's just a deep and irrational fear, I heart you and am not going anywhere. Hopefully my vow to stick around is good news.)
I know that I would rather die than leave my family. I know that I would rather be tortured Slumdog style than leave my family. I would rather impale my eye with a smoldering pretzel rod... you get the point. So, now that it's clear that I'm not looking to get outta dodge, and also that I have violent and disturbing thoughts on occasion, I really want to be open and honest about this fear of mine.
I have known plenty of people who have done heinous and unexpected things to the people they love. I have faced my share of abuses at the hands (and mouths) of people who have claimed to love me. I have even been on the wicked and guilty end of sin situations as well... and I have hurt those I have truly loved. So, while I know I would never leave my family, I also know that we are all capable of terrible wrongdoing and, sadly, I have proved time and again that I am not the exception to this rule.
Still, I would not leave my family. Well, at least not for long. We have a very open-adoption with our youngest son's birthmom, so he and I will travel to New York City every few months to spend time with her, and occasionally I will even take a trip to Oregon to visit my friend, Christine, or to deliver her baby, or I will march on Washington to demand justice and those sorts of things... ya know, your basic mom-travel. As I was leaving for one of these trips, my youngest daughter, London, informed me that she could not be happy or be a good girl with me away, or "ith you way" as she put it.
Someone once told me that I was "really good at being away." Though I am not away from my family often, and certainly never for long, I know what she meant. She was referring to the fact that I was able to leave my family and actually enjoy myself without being constantly worried about the kids or feeling guilty. I took it as a compliment at the time, because it is a skill I am actually intentional about trying to cultivate: being engaged when I am with my kids, so I can be guilt-free and relaxed when I am apart from them. (Especially because these times are few and far between.)
Still, positive as I believe the remark was meant to be... it stirred in me a great reminder of this fear. What if I am good at being away because I am a leaver? What if I am closer to snapping and leaving than I think? What if wanderlust finally gets the better of me? What if I am the worst? What if the threat of a Slumdog beatdown can't even deter me?
This is when I need somebody to slap me really hard, or throw a drink in my face. This is when I need more Spanish soap opera stars in my life, ya know, someone who will get really irate and just shove me down a staircase.
I need a reminder that, yes, while better people have done worse, I am not going to leave my family. I think it is because I am so aware that I am capable of horrific crimes, like impaling someone's eye with a pretzel, that I am intentional in guarding my marriage and family life from those temptations. I think because I know that I could be a leaver, I have to cling to the grace of God. And only by His grace, and all the might and empowerment He stuffs into my soul, am I able to actively and purposefully become a stayer.
Except when my friend has a baby or when Washington needs a reminder.
Then I go, but just for a bit. And knowing that my little girl can't be good or happy without me there is a great reminder to me about the effects of divorce on kids. I can clearly remember what it was like to feel like I lost the strength and know-how to be happy, or a good girl, because somebody left.
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