Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Divorce Causes Terminators

Below is a guest post from P&P's dear friend and contributor, Natalie. What I love about this post is how she is willing to be open and raw for us. So often as parents (or at least me) we want to shield our children, which may include shielding the truth from them or shielding our emotions, but she reminds us that honesty is okay, is important, because we don't need to know the answers since we don't know the future. 

This week at P&P we're going to focus on openess and letting go, being aware that we cannot control every detail of our lives. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! - SRW

Because the future has Terminators.

I am 30. I am also married with a young child. I am your average middle class working mom. That is just a little background so you know where I am coming from. 

I have to consider myself an adult at this point: I have the child, the husband, the mortgage, the job that pays for the health insurance. That is about as adult-ish as you get; I even drive a station wagon with stickers on the back window and change in the glove compartment for parking meters. Yet it wasn’t until recently that two contradictory feelings popped up in me: 1. I started to feel like an adult (or maybe feel my age is more accurate) and;  2. I began to realize that no one is truly ever "grown up".

What caused these opposite emotions? My first adult divorce. Not mine, but a friend's. I met my husband at my co-worker's wedding. My husband was the brother of the bride (my co-worker), we hit it off and began dating. Within a year we were living together and engaged. My co-worker eventually became my sister-in-law, and she and her husband were the best of both worlds -- my friends and my family. They were the kind of couple that everyone thought would be together forever: easy-going, fun-loving and most importantly, happy. But within the last year they encountered personal problems and things began to unravel. Two months ago we were told they were separating, by Christmas we heard the final decision. Divorce.

This divorce has me reeling because, yes, I too thought they would be together forever and because I love them both. But also…well…we don’t ever grow up do we? I watched my aunt’s marriage disintegrate over lies and pain, I watched friend’s parents divorce, always comfortable that my parents would never do that. Until my Dad left my Mom (for his knocked up girlfriend who was half his age,  cough cough…you don’t hear any lingering resentment, do you?) when I was in high school. All of those relationship endings were what adults were doing. They obviously had it figured out and were making decisions and being adults about it. I was mostly a kid looking in on a world that I didn’t understand, and somewhere along the way I grew up but never really looked back with a new perspective, I still viewed those moments the way my child or teenage self did.

This divorce is different. We are adults. We were supposed to make it work, do what our parents couldn’t manage. We feel like adults. And yet… we aren’t, are we? We are still those same scared kids who don’t really understand what we are feeling or why. Sometimes we are just stabbing blindly in the dark and we don’t know how things will turn out. And that is what gets me…all those years ago I assumed the adults in my life had a clue about what they were doing and now I realize, much like myself, they didn’t. When my mom would hug me and tell me it was going to be ok, like I do with my daughter, she wasn’t really saying that she was sure it was going to be okay but rather that  she was going to try to make it okay.

This divorce is frightening because it is a mirror. I can see my own relationship struggles in it more clearly than I ever could looking back through the lens of my parent’s marriage.  Suddenly, days after my 30th birthday and facing another new year, I feel more like my mother and less like me, more like an adult and less like the wild teenager I left behind. More afraid of divorce because it is in my lexicon as a present tense and not just a past tense. It's okay, because like my mother, I will make it okay. 

Also, I am pretty sure I am going to rock the senior living house like I am Blanche from the Golden Girls, so I have something to look forward to!

1 comment:

  1. Who can honestly say that they genuinely know what they're doing? I mean, going through life, who would say that they know what they're really doing? Can they say what they're doing is the right and only way? When you say "Everything's gonna be okay.", is it really going to be okay? Or are you just validating what the person really wants to hear? Up until now, I'm still shocked with divorce between 20-30 years of marriage like you. No one wants it to happen to their loved ones, especially to them personally. Divorce is something we don't prepare our self from and when it happens, it feels like a near death experience. All I know is, there's always a rainbow after storm and I strongly believe that. Janay Stiles