Regret and Accountable.

These two words have been running around in my head for months. Some days they are louder than others, but their noise is an almost constant hum in the background of my life.

I didn’t behave inappropriately with someone else, I didn’t and don’t hide from all the people who might judge me or hold me accountable, and I didn’t and I won’t ever make excuses for behavior that is inexcusable.

But you know what I did do? I ignored all the signs that something was very, very wrong in my marriage. I dismissed my ex and attempts to discuss issues because I just didn’t have any more effort to give to anything. I chose to focus on other people and things as the top priorities and that, in part, resulted in my divorce.

When you have to suffer the consequences of your choices, it sucks – but as adults we do that and then pick ourselves up and move on. When you have children, and those children suffer the consequences of your actions and inactions, it’s the absolute worst feeling of failure and regret and accountability, and you just can’t shake it.

Good parents can’t prevent chaos of all kinds and protect their children from everything, but they can stop themselves from creating chaos in the lives of their children.

Regardless of how angry I have been and can still sometimes get at other people, the truth is that two people are responsible for the challenges my children have faced. Me and their Dad. Because as their parents, we are fully accountable for everything. Until they’re adults, we are the CEOs in their life. It was our job to provide for them and to protect them and to do our best in all things and to give 110% to family each day. It was our job to carefully control the influences in our lives. It was our job, and our job only, to set the example for them.

I suppose all Moms and Dads have regrets. And secrets. One of my secrets is that I don’t regret getting divorced. Is it wrong to be happy about something that caused pain for your children? Is it wrong to feel free?

I have known for a very long time, since the beginning really, that if I had to go back I wouldn’t make different choices. I would prioritize the people I prioritized. But I realized something new today. Something important. Something life-changing, really. A corner piece in this giant puzzle. One of the people I really need to forgive in this whole mess is me.

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