On Christmas morning, my boyfriend’s son (age 5) had a small breakdown. “I wish you and mama hadn’t got a divorce,” he said to his dad. “I wish we were all together today.”
“Of course,” I thought. “It’s Christmas morning. He wants to be with his people. I totally get that.”
Later it occurred to me that could have (would have, some years back) stung. I’m here. I’m trying to be his people, after all. But it didn’t present itself to me in that light. He is five. He needs what he needs. It isn’t about me.
The one thing I can say about turning 40 is that I genuinely feel less focused on myself, and that feels good. It doesn’t take effort and that makes me like myself more. It doesn’t mean that I can fix the things I would like to fix, like a small boy’s otherwise perfect Christmas morning. It just means I can listen and empathize without putting myself in the way