One of my favorite books is A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle, and it means so much to me on so many levels, and though it is a young adult novel, every time that I read it, it’s profundity is revealed to me on a deeper level. I’ve also said a few times now that my marriage needs more work, and if you have been following my other blog, Seed To Seedling, though I haven’t thrown out the dirty details – and probably won’t to protect my children – you will have noticed that the whole thing is on the rocks right now. Turns out that I’m not the one who needs to put more work into it, turns out that I’m the only one who has put work into my marriage.
And it is incredibly disappointing to me, so much so that it takes my breath away sometimes.
What does this have to do with A Ring of Endless Light? Well, it comes together for me in a number of ways. Most obviously, and in the most raw way, I had desired Vicky’s family for my own. I mean, I had a great childhood, I have a great family, we didn’t read together at night like Vicky’s family does (and which is something that I had wished for), but we were and are still close. But, I had wished for Vicky’s family in my own marriage, and I didn’t get it, not by a long shot. Chepe and I would occasionally read together aloud until sometime during my pregnancy for my second child, but while I was pregnant I always fell asleep and that bothered him. After Paul’s birth, the pastime just got forgotten in all that had to be done with having two children to provide for and take care of. But my desire to be in a family who counts reading aloud as quality time together has not diminished and never has, but the reality of one that will seems ever farther and farther away.
There were times in the beginning of our marriage in which I could not bear to read A Ring of Endless Light, though I customarily read it every year, because all of the family unity that I had desired to have in my own life was not coming true. And alas, it remains that way with few promises for change.
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
~Lemony Snicket, from Horseradish
So, we didn’t read together, big deal! But it goes deeper than that. I just wished for a tight family who talks and makes time for each other and likes to play games on Friday nights and what not. Didn’t get that. But even as I was realizing it, I tried to get over it because I had made my choice, and that was that. But now it burns so much that I can hardly stand it.
As recent events come to light, I am left wondering…why? Well, I do wonder why he has chosen to do the things that he has done, but more profoundly, I am left wondering why I got this? I do my best to be nice, to give without asking in return, to love, to forgive, to be understanding, to be humble, to essentially be the best me that I know how, so why did I get this bullshit? Don’t I deserve better?
Sigh, hopefully I’ll get to my thoughts on deserving at a later time, but essentially I believe that no one deserves anything, that we are not owed anything. I don’t believe in Karma either. My ideas of fate/destiny vs. free will are conflicting and difficult to define (which again, is ok), and summed up as that both are in play all or most of the time. I am left wondering why this would be my fate, and I can only think of one thing, well actually two: my children. If Chepe and I are not meant to last, my kids and I are because I love them so much and they are absolutely amazing! With all honestly, I believe that they have all of his good qualities, and hopefully mine as well, and I am working hard as an ox to raise them to choose to be the best ‘them’ as is possible, even if my husband has blatantly chosen to not.
Here’s a video I found on Happy Hearts Homeschool, which I keep returning to and which is so inspiring to me and gives me hope, because this is how we do life here between the kids and I:
Perhaps my fate was not to die at 90 with Chepe at my side as we used to joke about, perhaps my fate was to be a mom, which is honestly not something that I had aspired to before knowing Chepe.
It occurred to me the other night as I contemplated this big ‘WHY’ and my disappointment at not having Vicky’s family, that ultimately, I AM Vicky’s family for my kids – I AM all those things that I had wished for in her family like tightness, understanding, willingness to give the quality time, willingness to listen and take them seriously. I realized that I AM the ring of endless light. I don’t need Chepe to do that. I am still disappointed yes, children need a father, particularly boys, I had wished for a strong marriage focused on family; but in the absence of the things that I had wished for from outside of me, rather than be disappointed and feel failure, I see that I AM those things that make up Vicky’s tight family, and I will continue to do my best with my children whether Chepe is a part of the picture or not.
I don’t know what will happen next. I am slowly making my plans, like getting back into work so that I can support us if I have to. It is really in my ball park as to divorce or not, but I can’t make up my mind, and taking time to mull over huge decisions is almost never wasted. I only know one thing: I will do my absolute best for my kids because I love them.