A blogstress I've recently felt a kindredness with is a single mother in Canada. Her blog "Better Now" is essentially dedicated to making life so (much better now) after she and her baby daddy split. Her most recent post addresses the fears she has about raising a son without a father close-by, and how she polled her friends who were children of divorce on their experiences. She concludes that most every family is different, and the experience of divorce is, therefore, experienced differently throughout a lifetime.
And that's the part that caused my child of divorce heart to resound with a loud HOLLA! Because I have never ever gotten over my parents' divorce. And I do not intend to. It's not that I want to live my life bitterly, and to continue to analyze why one Christmas all of our presents were under the tree together, and why the next Christmas my father brought a sack of presents with him as a visitor, and why several Christmases later, he had a new wife with whom to celebrate. I know, to an extent that I feel comfortable, What Went Wrong. But I do not want to get over What Was Learned.
Sure, I've probably spent nearly a hundred hours sitting sluggishly in assorted therapists' leather couches, squinting my eyes, trying to see what it was that the therapists were depicting about my family that I must have been missing all these years. I've sought counsel, both from this world and Above, about how to heal from something that I saw coming from miles away, that a part of me almost wanted to happen so that we did not have to live our lives as a farce. Send in the clowns.
But whether or not children of divorce experienced it as babies, or as angsty teenagers, or as adults, I would contend that the legacy that they inherited as a child whose parents did not stay together has changed them irreversibly. And there is a beauty in learning from how this has changed us. And I never ever want to lose that knowledge.
I experienced the separation of my parents on several different levels, and most concretely as a senior in high school where I spent many weeks sitting in homeroom, listening as my other classmates lifted up prayer intentions that they'd get in to Notre Dame. I don't recommend trying to relate to those classmates. Their parents still lived together. They would not have understood.
I'm much more cynical about relationships, about men, about the capacity people have to reconcile their differences, about people's ability to truly overcome their addictions and vices. I listen very closely to the sermons on divorce and wonder if those delivering them have ever watched their father clear out a whole closet of suits, leaving it a wide open empty hole with the hangers still swinging on the rack.
But, as the Canadian blogstress writes, she's better now. And I'm much better now for knowing the pain of divorce and for having an even heightened awareness in my own marriage so that divorce is a mere impossibility.
I'll never forget what I have learned about my parents, about their humanity, and, ultimately, about their love for their children which was and is sometimes so great, it kept them together for longer than was probably healthy. I love my parents very much and I hope each and every day that they're better now.