Sunday, November 12, 2006

We are Family

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.


He who wears the most black wins. said...

Oh my gosh, I just felt like I was reading about my life. Seriously. You put it so beautifully.

I am gearing up to have THE EXACT experience for Thanksgiving with my family this year. My parents divorced when I was a freshman in college. I have two brothers. Noni, Popi, and two uncles will be here for Thanksgiving dinner--then, they will get into their cars and drive to different homes. So strange, so sad, so dream shattering. But I, too, agree, my parents are amazing now. They have done things and accomplished personal goals that they never could have together. They are cordial, respectful, happier in general, and living in different towns.

This pain is so strange to describe to someone since our parents didn't divorce when we were children. We were adults, right? Why should it have been so hard on us as adults? It's not like we were even living with them when they divorced.

Well, the reality is, it's still painful. It still changes what "family" looks like, what holidays, birthdays, grandchildrens' school plays, and celebrations look like. I really do feel your pain and I am in it with you, even the part where you are just grateful to have great memories to share together. Sometimes that is what gets us all through, even our parents I would imagine.

Jennifer said...

That was very powerfully written. Parents are our foundation and I feel so sad for you to have gone through this. When my Dad's parents died he said numerous times that he was an orphan (at 50+). I don't think that need for parents as a unit changes. I'm glad that you had last night. You are in my prayers today.

Blair said...

So sorry that you, and others, have to deal with this. May God protect our own children from never suffering that kind of pain.

Jen said...

This post was so touching. It really came from your heart. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what that must be like. But, I am so happy that you had this time together. Perhaps our Lord knew you needed something like this, and chose to send you this as a small consulation.


Alice said...

Thank you for sharing this beautifully written, thoughtful post. I am deeply moved by it.