In our 4th installment of this important series with Karyn Lynn Grant: Who Moved My Happily Ever After, Karyn once again shares wisdom and very insightful information and questions that will assist parents and children when their fairy tale visions and hopes of a happy relationship and family life get shattered and divorce becomes imminent.
Carol: Today, when I asked Karyn: each segment of this valuable series seems to be following so many succinct steps that have been so helpful and thought out, what will our time today cover? Karyn simply answered: “The Secret of Rewriting Happily-Ever-After Begins with Forgiveness.” Did I ever agree.
So, in Karyn’s own words, I opened the mic for her to share today.
Karyn: My childhood dream of growing up to be a mother began when I was just a little girl. I drew joyful scenes with a family, a cottage, and there was always a tree with a swing hanging from it. As a teenager, I continued fashioning those dreams in my heart and mind by writing poetry, songs and love letters to my unborn children.
I created and fashioned, on paper, what I believed was possible for my future. To grow up and find a kindred soulmate, a handsome prince, who had the same vision in his mind and wanted the same things I wanted for our future family. Needless to say, I wrote my fictitious prince love letters too.
In my sophomore year of high school, my Career Ed teacher, Miss Collins, went around to each of her students asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I could hear some of the other girls answer her question with, “I want to grow up to be a doctor…” or “I want to grow up to be a lawyer!”
When Miss Collins approached my desk, I looked up from my writing assignment to answer the same question. “I want to be a mother, an author and a singer.” Miss Collins looked at me sternly and announced, “You can’t want that! That will never make you any money!”
I didn’t care about making money or having a “career” at age 15. I only wanted to follow my dream of what I believed would make me the happiest. Growing up and becoming a mother, writing and singing my children lullabies was all my heart could imagine at that time. However, life took unforeseen turns, shattering my dreams. Divorce disrupted the future I envisioned for my children, leaving me to explain my altered desires for them.
No one suggested that my picture perfect dream of growing up and getting married and having children of my very own to sing lullabies to would ever come to a screeching halt.
How do you tell your children, when they are 10, 5, 3 and 1 1/2 , while going through a divorce, that all you ever wanted to create for them was an even happier-after-after than what you might have experienced as a child?
How do you help your young children understand the reasons why you are leaving their father or mother when it is inappropriate to do so?
When my childhood dream fell apart, my children were too small to understand the reasons why I chose to leave their father. They were too young for me to explain the kind of home life and family I had always believed I could create with him which was turning into a marital disaster.
My children were inevitably thrown into a myriad of experiences that seemed more like taking the forbidden route into a fiasco of false hopes and broken promises. My life became the unwritten sequel, equal to “Romancing the Stone”.
While my heart ached to recreate my childhood fantasy, I continuously broke my children’s hearts by dating, eventually marrying and then divorcing (or annulling) myself from those men who I thought shared the same dreams. I was naïve in my meanderings, continuously searching for that special someone who shared the same happily-ever-after vision that I had believed in since my youth and childhood.
It was not until my children were adults that they began to slowly disclose the “roller coaster ride” that their childhoods had been. Suddenly, I understood that my endeavors to reinvent happier scenarios had caused them deep heartache and grief during each one of those relationships and their resulting sad endings.
I began to dive deeply into my personal story when my daughter, Ashley, came to me and asked me to write my fairytale fiascos down. “Mom, I think your story would have a great impact on women who are in search of their own happily-ever-afters. Your story could dispel a lot of myths about the fairytales people believe in from their childhoods.”
As I took on her request, I found that writing my book, “In Search of Happily Ever After: Rewriting My Fractured Fairytales” was therapeutic in ways that I could not have imagined. As I wrote each chapter, I faced my own weaknesses, confronted the errors in my thinking and relocated the origins of my faulty belief system.
As I wrote each page, I found myself laughing and crying with my husband of seven years who listened intently as I read each chapter aloud to him. A marvelous thing began happening. As I felt his compassion, empathy and kindness towards me, I was able to finally face my demons and forgive myself for all my past blunders and errors in judgement.
I was able to make peace with my past. In the process, I became emotionally available for my own children, now adults. I wanted to understand their feelings. I wanted to comprehend what they went through as little children and teenagers being rushed back and forth between visitations. I wanted to feel what they felt and see their realities through their eyes. I wanted to ultimately understand what children of divorce experience and their need to share their hurts and heartaches along the way.
I began to see and feel how deeply my distorted versions of “not-so-very-happy” had hurt my children deeply, each in their own ways. I realized that at their present ages, now as “Adult Children of Divorce, that each one of them had their own stories to tell in order to make peace with me.