Have you ever been in a room full of people who are welcoming and genuinely glad to have you there but have never felt so lonely in your life? I'm thankful for a lot of things, most of all my kids and my family. But that's what makes it so hard to know that I just am not a part of a really good one anymore.
I had the kids for thanksgiving, but for a variety of reasons it made the most sense to spend it with my ex and his family. His family are some of the nicest, most welcoming and caring people I know. In fact, they are a big part of the reason I chose to marry him in the first place. I like being a part of their group. And today was no different. Except it was. I've already mourned the loss of my marriage but now I'm struggling with the loss of his family. They are nothing but supportive of me and again, always welcoming, but it was very obvious today that I can't be a part of it anymore, no matter how much we all think I can be. I didn't expect today to be quite so difficult. As in any divorce, things aren't always pleasant, but we've made a really solid effort to keep things civil and nice, particularly for the kids. So while I knew it would probably be a little awkward, I didn't expect to have such a strong emotional reaction to the day.
My ex's girlfriend was there for part of the day too (which I knew ahead of time so I was prepared - I thought). I like her, she's been a family friend forever and so I know her and her kids pretty well. She's a great mom and I think they could have something really good. They just go well together. But that's just it. It's like they already have this nice little family unit going and I'm just excess baggage. I know my kids always need me and I'm their mother and all that comes with it. But my ex and his girlfriend are able to provide that sense of family that my kids are so desperately missing right now. My ex is living in our family home, and while my apartment is comfortable, I can't provide that family feeling. All that I have here belongs to my ex. This is his territory and all I've ever been a part of up here has been because of him and the people he knows. I've never felt that as strongly as I did today. My family lives far away and I never made friends with anyone while we were together (well I did, but that's why I'm not married anymore - but that's besides the point). Because we don't get to see my family very often it makes it special when we get to see them, but I can't provide that on a constant basis for my kids, and I don't get to experience it for myself either. And it all leaves me feeling hollow, inadequate, and unbelievably sad.
Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that my kids have my in-laws to love and care for them and provide them with the sense of family they need and deserve. And I am thankful that my ex has found a person that will love and treat my children they way they should be treated. But I can't help but feel I'm being left behind and I'm not good enough.
I'm counting my blessings today, but I'm also mourning the loss of what it felt like to be a part of my family.