Today was an “orientation” day for my son’s transition to a four-year university. Basically, it was a very general “Welcome!” and “Hello!” to new students and those transferring (like my son) to the school. I don’t remember what it was specifically called, but “orientation day” is the best phrase. My partner and I could tell that our son initially seemed very overwhelmed by it. For the first part of the day, he got very quiet, and I could tell he was questioning himself and all the amazing things he’s accomplished in his life to this point. He’s had a bit of a journey in his life, and I was so proud to be a part of his day today.
As we wound our way through line after line (to get into another line), the look on his face said it all. This is unlike anything he’s ever experienced before. Yes, we’ve driven through the campus numerous times, and he’s gotten the basic lay of the land. But today, it was real for him: this is no longer a distant thought about eventually transferring. He was committed, knew he was accepted as a student, and knew he was going there. He’s scheduled his classes, and we’ve put down a deposit. Today was a very intense day for him.
While waiting for our coffee and doughnuts, I heard him say something almost offhandedly. He sounded a bit distant and dreamy and a bit dejected. Looking around at all the other families, he mumbled to himself, “I think I should have done this four years ago.” Then, without skipping a beat, my husband casually ruminated out loud, “Well, I don’t know. What do you think, Mama?” As he said this, he flashed a quick glance at me. It was one of those slight, swift glances the two of us share when we “talk” to each other without actually saying a word. I knew that was my cue. I’ve written before that my partner and I split the lead on certain things. This is one of my many areas of expertise.
I told him something like I’m going to tell you now.
You are in a strange new place. Life is going on around you, and sometimes there’s a never-ending line of people and meetings and strange new experiences you’ve never encountered before. It’s intimidating. It’s terrifying. It’s extremely disorienting and overwhelming in a way that may never have seemed possible. But you know what? You are exactly where you need to be, and despite how you may feel, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve caught myself thinking, “I could have done this” or “I should have done that.” Why? You’ve done the best you could with what you knew at the time. That’s a good thing. There’s no shame in that. You know what you know now, and that’s what counts. What matters is what you do with what you know today.
In comparison with others, my son has always started out “behind” or labeled as “failed.” But my husband and I have always asked each other: “Behind who?”, “Failed what?” He’s always been right where he needs to be – for himself – to achieve what is best for him at any given moment. In the end, it’s always worked out. With time and (healthy) support, his engines have always revved up when he’s ready. He’s “engaged warp speed” (as my Trekkie spouse says) to bridge chasms, surging through any darkness or doubt: all when the time and place were right for him. This is not pollyannish by any means. I’m not saying there haven’t been many “dark nights of the soul” for us. There certainly have been times – days, months, even years – when we’ve had profound, doubtful misgivings about the outcomes (but that is where faith and hope come into play). But yes, I have to assert that, in the end, things have always worked out for the best for him as long as he made an effort.
Yet remember what I just said: “time and healthy support.” You and your ex deserve to be heard. You both deserve to be supported. You both deserve that moment when “warp speed” is suddenly and unexpectedly engaged by some seemingly unknown reason, force, or power.
I am a part of that process for you both.
I don’t “fix” things or people. I’m a part of a larger manifestation in your life that helps you both to achieve what is best for both of you should you so choose. Even though a relationship may be over, you and your ex were brought together to provide the opportunity to heal each other: That’s why you were attracted to each other in the first place. I know this sounds odd, but it’s true. As a mediator, I am a catalyst to assist you in making sense of your current situation and how you can move forward towards all, which can be the best of what might be. The point is to do this in a non-confrontational and alleviating, mitigating way. This is my expertise.
I’m not a therapist. It’s not my job or purpose to perform such a role. However, I can be an integral part of your larger, healthy support system. I’ve spent my entire 36-plus-year career learning and developing the methodologies and processes of mediating divorce for both for the benefit of all. I’ve seen things that work and many things which don’t. I would challenge you to engage me to assist you with all the techniques I’ve learned over the course of decades for the benefit of you, your children, and even your ex.