I’ve never been one to walk away. Whether from the last word or a relationship, my pathological tendency to overstay is well documented throughout history. I’ve always worn this flaw as a misguided badge of honor. I have thought I was being honest when really I’ve been cruel; I’ve thought I’ve been loyal when in reality I’ve been an emotional masochist. All of this is forgivable, when you’re young; what isn’t. But things change. I’m a mother now. And mothers should know when to walk away, from not only the last word, but from a relationship, especially a marriage.
A Good Fight
Yet when we sign up for marriage, we all agree to the fine print. Hidden between “in good times and in bad,” at the bottom there is a small clause, where we agree to fight the good fight. We know that, undoubtedly, there will be hard times. There will be uphill battles. And we agree to fight this good fight until the bitter end. But where is this metaphysical bitter end? And how do we know when we have arrived. We are in the midst of battle. How can we see clearly? The air is heavy and clouded with gunfire. Exhausted from battle, yet we are anxiously anticipating the next attack.
In the Trenches
We are in no condition to make life altering decisions. But that’s too bad, because this is war, and we have lives in our hands. As the leaders of our tiny troops, we must ask ourselves, “Does the value of a potential victory outweigh the cost of a potential loss?” And can one ever truly know? I find myself knee-deep in the trenches with these questions. As I keep watch over my tiny men as they sleep, I struggle to accept the very real possibility that fighting for my family is no longer fighting the good fight. My once worthy battle, keeping my family together, is no longer the worthiest cause at stake.
Continuing to fight may save my marriage, but at what cost. Winning this battle may ultimately lead to my children losing this war. They didn’t ask for this; they were drafted. And winning the battle doesn’t matter as much to them as going home, and being safe, and sleeping soundly.
They are my only good fight.
Weary of War
I don’t know how to discern the line between loyalty and dysfunction. Perhaps I never have. But this battlefield is new. I am weary of war and I want to send my troops home. But to where? What will be left for them whence they arrive? Will they one day blame me for surrendering too soon, or even worse, too late? I don’t know.
Marriage is riddled with “I don’t knows;” motherhood overflows with the very same questions. But they are heavier in motherhood; they take up more space. They fill us up until they trickle down our cheeks. I don’t know. I don’t know where the good fight ends and the unwinnable war begins.
Perhaps it is here, on this battlefield, in this trench with these questions. But still, I’ve never been one to walk away. ⃞