A lot of you wanted to know about things regarding my & my sister's life as we grew up. Homeschooling, family memories, & how we dealt with our parents' divorce seemed to be the most popular inquiries... but there was also questions of interracial dating & vegetarianism, too. I had planned on combining all topics into one large, in depth post, but I got my mom's okay to make this a series of sorts. So, today is part one of Life as Married Boo Knew It.
Today, I'm talking about my parents' divorce.
When my parents announced that they were getting divorced, I distinctly remember that my response was, in my head, Thank God. I was tired of watching my father destroy my mom's spirit, & their divorce to me was like a white flag. It was like they finally said, "Okay... we've had enough of the nonsense. We're going to stop hurting each other now."
Their divorce wasn't a surprise to me. I was at an age (18, I believe) where my mom was very vocal with me about the things that were going on, & I'm glad she was. Her being honest allowed me to come to my own conclusions about who was in the wrong & who wasn't. Granted, there are two sides to every story... & I did in fact hear my father's side. Perhaps I would have been more sympathetic to his point of view if it didn't contradict everything he taught my sister & I about marriage, loyalty, respect, & unconditional love. I think my father expected me to be on his side (he always thought that I was the most like him) but how could I, when he brought me up in the exact opposite way that he was behaving? Needless to say, I had my mom's back & I still do to this day.
As painful as it was to watch my mother go through the ups & downs of a failed marriage -- going from hating my dad to loving him, & back to hating him again -- & as hard as it was to watch my confused father make decisions that eventually hurt our family, I needed to see those raw emotions. I needed to see my father crawling on the floor, tears streaming down his face, begging my mom to forgive him. I needed to see my mother's heart breaking on a daily basis. Witnessing those things hit me with a hard reality that I don't think many kids ever get to experience: that my parents are human. They make mistakes, they get their hearts broken, they hurt people, they become lost.
It was through my parents' divorce that I finally saw them as mere mortals. No longer was Mommy & Daddy invincible; they were just like me.
Again, it was not easy to watch these things unfold before my eyes; even more so because I am the first born, & I feel like it's my duty to keep the family strong. Holding my sister as she exclaimed in between sobs, "I hate Daddy!" was difficult. Listening to my mother cry herself to sleep at night was difficult. But I wouldn't take any of those things back. To want to take them back would be a slap in the face of all the beautiful things that have come from it. For instance, my mother has blossomed into this feisty, bold, unapologetic woman, who is quick to laugh & is just as quick to empathize with others. My sister is now daringly independent, with an opinionated & sound mind, & a cautious yet innocent heart. It truly is a wonder that we've all made it out seemingly unscathed by the heartbreaking choices my dad made. I think it's because we had & relied on each other.
Currently, I don't hold anything against my father for the choices he made that ultimately led to our family's demise. Back then I did, but I think it's because I was still in little girl mode, thinking that my daddy was a super-hero who could rule the world. But now that I see that he's human, I am able to understand why he did what he did. Granted, I will never agree with his methods of ending a relationship with my mom. I will never agree with how he created a wedge between my relationship with him. I will never agree with his excuses, with his delusions, & with his denial. But I am able to understand &, therefore, pity him with as much grace as my heart can muster.
When I first got married, I swore to Jonathan (my husband) that I would never, ever let our marriage resemble my parents'. But now, after almost 3 years of being married, I do my damnedest everyday to emulate the passion & devotion & comfort that my parents once had with each other. Instead of harping on the bad, I take only the good from my parents' relationship & try to cast it into my own. Because when it was good... it was perfect. I cannot deny that.
I keep a picture in my jewelry box that shows my dad, mom, sister, & myself at Disneyland. I had to be at least 5-years-old, & my sister was about 3 or 4. In that picture, I see our invincibility. I see our closeness. I see a kind of love & security that practically radiates out of the paper & into my heart. & instead of me getting angry that it is no longer this way (or that it IS this way, just in a different form), I smile & am grateful that someone invented photographs. Because really... that's what they're for: memories. & that's exactly where they should stay; in dated pictures, safely sitting in my jewelry box.