Dear Morgan, Today my daughter retweeted your tweet which simply said “wonder what it’s like to not have divorced parents.”
Sometimes it’s lovely. Sparkly in fact; like Christmas. But, only if the parents get along, truly love one another, put their children first, raise them in true partnership and are independently creative, intelligent, hardworking, decent people. And in those rare cases everyone is at the breakfast table together. Mom and Dad may even hold hands at the softball game or laugh at a private joke. Spring Break means a trip to the beach because money isn’t as hard as it is for a divorced family. You are never in the middle unless it is Friday movie night and they are fighting over who gets to cuddle with you. They are both at the concerts, and graduations, and major events like the first time you fall off your bike. You can hear one downstairs while the other is tucking in you. It is lovely.
And in other cases, Mom can’t stop crying. At the sound of Dad’s tires on the driveway she disappears because she is afraid. The tension that you now feel when they are near one another is 24x7 with no break and you cannot get away from it because it surrounds you in your own home. There is never any peace. And the arguments are about bigger things, louder things punctuated by fists into walls. And you are afraid all of the time. And pretty soon you don’t want to leave your room either. There is no softball. There are no bikes. There is no desire to be out in the world at all because it must be just like this. Or, worst of all, the only venture out of the house is to the cemetery because she didn’t make it.
Only…she was smart enough and brave enough to know that it doesn’t have to be like this at all...for you.
Each family has it's own story and it's own journey. A broken family isn’t one that isn’t together; it’s one that doesn’t work right. And staying stuck there is what will do the most damage of all. So, my dear Morgan, whom I somehow love like my own already; when you wonder what it’s like to have a family that isn’t separated be careful to consider all possible outcomes and not just those that feel like a fairy tale. Feel gratitude for what you do have rather than a longing for what you don’t. Because what you are missing may not be this particular story (good or bad); but it may not be what you think.
And, most of all, hug your mother. She is also weeping on the inside as she watches those parents who are holding hands at the game and longing for what was “supposed to be.” She wonders, too – wouldn’t it be nice if someone shared the load of school lunches, and sports forms, and breakups with boyfriends? How would it feel to be held at night when I’m lonely? What is it like to really laugh? Will my kids ever see Disney? How am I going to pay for groceries this week? What happened to my life? And, most of all, she just feels so tired.
Hug her twice.
With love and hope for you...and for both of our families,