Thursday, February 02, 2006

Most Days I Don't Care, but...

My parents are divorced. Have been for more than a decade now. I suppose it had its element of trauma for me early on, you know, being 15 and all. Not to mention the fact that they went about the whole divorce thing in the most bass-ackwards sort of way. I think we were all still taking "family" vacation together even after the papers were signed, and it took them several years to get to the "I hate die!" part. To be honest, the whole thing is kind of hazy in my memory. Would love to blame it on all the drugs and drinking I did in those days, but I doubt one isolated pot smoking experience when I was 16 would really cancel out the whole 2 or 3 year divorce experience, especially since I don't even think I really even got high. (Although those White Cheddar Cheese-Its did taste really good afterwards!)

Anyway, something like 12 years later, I would not still be expecting this divorce to be a thorn in my flesh. I harbor no secret expectation for them to get back together or anything fairytale-esque like that. They're both remarried. Remarried to people that are, more or less, normal and likeable. Besides, 28 years ago these two were in love, 15 years ago they were compatible, 9 years ago they could have tolerated each, but today, they are polar opposites. To know them both now would simple puzzle you. How could these two have once been married to each other? And bore such beautiful children no less, especially that first born!! Woohoo!!

Its still a pain though. Philosophcially, there's the whole, how am I going to help E understand someday that Grandpa M is my dad, but Grandma R shares no blood with me. (In spite of the fact that we have the same bra size thanks to her clever use of modern surgical technology!) And Grandma J is my mother having the stretch marks (but not the cup size) to prove it, but Grandpa B has no recollection of my first steps or words. (And lord help me if that child ever wants to know how my parents met their 2nd spouses!!!) So there is that. But the more practical prediciment that I keep finding myself in these days, in spite of the fact that I'm nearly 3 decades old (if you round up), is the whole "I can't tell mom _______ about dad" and/or "Dad would be hurt if he knew that we ___________ with mom". This is a very real part of divorce when you're a kid, one that I'm sure counselors and ministers always caution parents and kids about. I thought, perhaps naievely, that by now we would be past that. This is not to suggest that my parents are immature. Far be that from the truth. They are very considerate of each other, and do nothing to intentionally impose on us any sort of jealous feelings. (So why the hell I'm worrying about this might be the real question.) But the reality that my dad is really generous financially and that my mom is the one whom we still look to for family tradition and stability in crisis are the kinds of facts that are hard to omit, and always make me feel slightly awkward. I guess in my perfect world that can overlook all of the unavoidable and impenetrable obstacles, I wish my parents were still married to each other. Living in the same tri-level, in the same suburb, with just one Christmas Tree, with our family story complete, and their combined forces of loveliness all in one home. It would be nice to be able to say "It's been good talking to you mom, is dad home?" Its something I'd exchange all of the double Christmas gifts and multiple free babysitting options in the world for.

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