Two. The Number of Separation

As a teacher who grew up with two families I have always had a passion for understanding how to best help children cope with separation and divorce. As much as we all hope it wont happen to us, there are many, many children and their parents doing their very best to cope and move forward in a positive way when a marriage goes wrong. I recently asked fellow early childhood blogger, Angelique Felix, to share a little of her story of coping with separation and her strategies for minimising the impact on her then 3 year old daughter, Chanel…

“Love means being together. Unconditional love means letting go.”

My child lives in two houses.
She has two birthday parties.
There are two special friends in her life: the new companions of her mom & dad.
She is used to the number 2.
The number of separation…

My ex husband and I were separated almost 2 years ago.
He is Italian, I am Dutch. Our daughter Chanel was born in Italy 6 years ago.
The differences between us and my personal change, after surviving breast cancer, created too much distance to bridge. We separated.
It has been a challenging time since that moment.

The first year was all about surviving. Asking myself:
What can I do to help my child feel good?
Where do we belong now?
How will I be financially able to maintain the two of us?

And a tricky one: How will I deal with the absence of my daughter? I cried thinking of all the moments that I would miss because she is with him, and his new partner. I was sad, angry and blaming my ex-husband. I felt a victim of love.

Time passed by. Only by living one day at a time did I manage to get on my feet again.

The believing in me, in who I am, gives me the strength to share with you that what balanced me:

  • I was not only surviving but also taking time for me, to heal. Without “me time” I wouldn’t have been able to transmit serenity to my child.
  • As parents, my ex-husband and I were both committed to not speaking bad about each other in front of Chanel.
  • I reminded myself again and again that a child doesn’t belong to its mother or to its father. Actually no person belongs to another person.We are all independent beings, no matter our age, sex, religion, culture, mental or physical condition. WE ARE FREE! By giving freedom to Chanel, she has the possibility to make her own choices. When she wants to see her dad, she has all right to do so. She is not judged for whatever she is expressing.
  • It’s my conscious choice to stay and raise my child in Italy. It comes from my heart, so I know I can’t go wrong. I trust that I will always have enough financial possibilities for living.
  • I observed Chanel a lot while she was playing. So I was assured I could and can step in to help her deal with her emotions. I wrote about it in this post, “The Deep Meaning of a Child’s Play.”
  • Chanel loves her dad, as much as she loves me.

Even if the number 2 is very much present in Chanel’s life, sometimes there is just a big ONE. When Chanel graduated there was one couple of parents coming together. Crying of pride! Because we are no longer husband and wife, but for always Mother and Father of Chanel, our daughter.

Thank you for sharing your truth, Angelique.

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  1. Thank you for asking me and opening up your website for my truth.

  2. A heart-touching story, Angelique. You share strength, bravery, and the truest love for your little girl.

  3. Beautiful Angelique!

  4. How lucky for your daughter that you pull together for her! That makes all the difference, whether a mother and father are married or divorced.

  5. A beautiful story. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I’m sure your words will bring comfort to others living through the same situation. Peace.

  6. Your perspective and love for your daughter is amazing. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt journey with us.

  7. Christie thanks for sharing this.

    Angelique, what a beautiful & heartfelt post. I too am a child of divorce and though I was much older (I was 16) it had a huge impact on our lives. You have to adjust, to live differently and that is always hard.

    I applaud how you are handling it so positively for Chanel (and yourself!). She is such a happy child and that means everything, doesn’t it. No matter where she lays her head for the night – her knowing that she is safe, loved and well cared for are all that matters.

    I can only imagine how you miss her when she is not with you and I know that you make the most of all her time with you.

    Your words touched me today and that happy photo of you and Chanel brought tears to my eyes. Separation/divorce are hard but it is possible to make it work and have a happy family for as you said, you are not husband and wife but you will always be connected as Chanel’s mom and dad. Believe me, it will mean the world to her later to look back and not remember harsh words, bitter fights and animosity but rather to recall fun times spent with both of you, surrounded in love!

    Hugs my friend! You are always an inspiration

    • Dearest Bern,
      I agree so much with you. Chanel has a mom and a dad and we love her both dearly. I would never want to disturb this love between her dad and herself. Even if it’s difficult sometimes and then I really have to take many deep breaths to keep on going.
      But in the end I find strength looking at her.
      Thank you for your lovely words, for your honesty, for your friendship. I am blessed knowing you!

  8. Angelique- This must have been an unspeakable difficult time in your life!!! This is so beautifully written and will help countless women who are suffering through a similar situation. I think that you are very brave and strong to endure it and to write about- but mostly, because you think of your child and strive to find peace with it. Most people would rage and resent for much longer. Thank you for this, my friend. And thank you for featuring this piece, Christie!

    • Thank you Tricia for recognizing my feelings and the difficulty I have been going through. It was a hard time and still can be. BUT! I am in peace with me, my choices and when I look at Chanel I know that all is well. It’s called LOVE, unconditional love that makes it in the end easy…

      Love to you from Angelique

  9. Thanks for sharing your lovely words, Angelique!

  10. What a beautiful post, Angelique. It’s beauty literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s not a story that I relate to in my personal life (which speaks volumes of your wonderful way of words. You had my crying! 🙂 but I know that it’s one that will inspire so many families that are living with the number two. You really are an inspiration.

  11. Such a beautiful story!

  12. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing such tender emotions.

  13. I have and gone through the same thing, leaving my ex was beyond difficult but easy compared to leaving my beautiful daughter behind. I see her a week at a time, every other week, my heart feels healed at times, other times I think its broken all over again. Shes only 4 but so smart, I pray she’ll realize or forgive me for being selfish

  14. Beautiful post! I was a child who lived with the number two, and this post had me in tears. What a way you have with words, and conveying deep emotion <3

    • Dearest Crystal,
      I am sure being a number 2 has it’s big advantages and helps you to come closer the number 1 <3

      Love to you my dear friend and beautiful mom,

  15. Such a beautiful post, Angelique. I am so glad you are taking care of yourself so you can be a better mother to your daughter. I applaud you for making positive choices in regards to dealing with your separation even if they are very difficult changes.

    • Hi Rebekah,
      I am happy to read your kind words and that you see that only one things really counts and that is to always find the positivity in all situations.
      Thank you for your comment on our post,
      Lovely greetings,

  16. Thank you for sharing. Chanel is very lucky to have you. As a child therapist I work with MANY children of separation and divorce … I just wish all parents could be self-aware and understanding about this difficult situation. Great post!

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, I really appreciate them a lot!
      Being self aware is really important it can give you the strength to deal with all difficult situations you encounter.
      Lovely greetings,

  17. So nice to see a positive story about separating! I have been separated from my husband for 4 years. I vowed at the beginning that I would not fight with him or put him down in front of the kids. I think it’s really important to remember that the kids love us both equally and of course want to spend time with both of us. even though we are not together we will be involved with each other for the rest of our lives. My brother and his ex took the opposite path and have wasted a huge amount of money fighting in the courts and with each other for very little gain. His children have suffered this greatly. Thanks for sharing! Bron

    • Hi Bron,
      I know that the fighting part is a tough road to walk on for everybody. I really hope that your family finds it’s way out and refind some peace.
      Thank you for reading and commenting on our post,
      Lovely greetings,

  18. Angelique,

    This story touches my heart. I was in tears reading it because I honestly could feel the love that you have for her and feel how hard it must have been for her to be away from you.
    I wish all the divorced parents could read this story and stop being so selfish and realize that their children are people with feelings. So many children don’t have any choice in the matter.
    Chanel is very blessed.

  19. this is so beautiful and honest, thank you for sharing!

  20. Angelique your strength and honesty and dignity brought me to tears. You are a truly inspiring Mama for all us, whether we live with the number 2 or not. Thank you for sharing your story with us. <3

  21. Thank you for posting this. I have just recently (yesterday) separated from my husband and don’t even know how to explain this to my 2 1/2 year old. This helps. What an indescribable pain.

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