When my parents divorced the year before Dylan was born, it rendered me "homeless" and "orphaned" in a way I never could have imagined. I had already been married for two years when they separated, and while I felt that it was, in many ways, inevitable and maybe even for the best, the actuality of their parting damaged the very foundation of all that I had known and loved and trusted and believed in my entire life. I was crushed, to say the least.
I mourned the loss of my family as I had always known it. I still had both of my parents, but they were no longer the cohesive unit I remembered. My childhood home, devoid of all its familiar treasures, became just a house, an empty shell of its former self. I cried many bitter tears to think that my future children would never know my parents the way I once knew them; that my romantic adolescent dream of some day pulling up to my parents home, visiting with a carload of children for the holidays, would never come to pass.
And so it has been. My children have their "Nonny" and their "Grandpa". They love them fiercely, but I'm still sometimes sad to know that they will never have the pleasure of enjoying them together, as a pair. My parents have grown and changed in so many ways that I honestly believe would never had been possible had they stayed together. I am immensely proud of them as individuals. But sometimes the enormity of the loss of "them", the longing for what once was, makes my heart ache with an intensity that brings tears to my eyes.
With my older brother and his family visiting from out of town for a few days, we chose to celebrate Thanksgiving together last night so we could all be together. Both of my parents came, and my younger brother, and for the first time in many years, my family was complete. At one point after dinner, as we all sat comfortably and companionably around the table, the conversation turned to some silly pranks my older brother had pulled during his years in Catholic school. Darren and my dear sister-in-law had drifted away from the dining room and were playing in the living room with our children. I sat among my brothers and parents and reminisced, and laughed, and it was bittersweet. We have a shared history, my family and I. When the evening concluded, my parents got into their own cars and drove home to their seperate houses. But for last night, we had our memories. And for last night, that was enough.