Adulthood has introduced me to the friend that I have found in my mother and most recently, within the last year since my move to NYC, our conversations have reached an entirely new depth that we’re both completely unfamiliar with but have excitedly pushed towards. When I dialed home a few days ago to pay my respects to all of the mothers in my family, I could’ve never anticipated the conversation going where it did with her.
We discussed the divorce that occurred 19 years ago…err, rather WHY the divorce occurred.
My parent’s divorce is one that has been blocked from my memory for the most part. While I know that it occurred, my memory is limited in the fact that I remember none of the emotions I felt with the dissolution of the marriage. I know it was intense enough for my father to seek a child psychologist though-apparently I was unable to cope (depression is an illness that has plagued my mother’s side of the family for many generations). My paternal grandmother describes that period of my life as a “smile-less child.” She says she didn’t see me smile or laugh for months and that it broke her heart.
In the years since, everyone has been extremely hush-hush about it…the “why” has never been fully addressed. Aunt Lynne (Dad’s sister) will occasionally remark on how she lost one of her closest friends. Auntie (Mom’s sister) will tell me how much of a riot my dad was. Uncle Todd (Dad’s brother) talks about how “awesome” my mother was. Grandma (Dad’s mom) doesn’t say much of anything at all. Recently, since college, Dad has opened up a bit about some issues he had (because as I have with my mother, my father and I have enjoyed our newfound adult friendship as well). And then finally on Sunday, Mom opened up and exposed her heart. Mom finally told me why.
I can’t say that she told me anything I hadn’t already suspected before. Maturity has opened my eyes to trends that I previously turned a blind, naïve eye towards before. Mom’s perspective, along with my father’s subtle, random remarks throughout the years and my family’s tidbits and actions all came together and I finally understood.
The biggest thing Mom’s explanation gave me was closure, closure I wasn’t aware that I needed. I thought I had moved on from that situation, since it is one that I only occasionally think about and one I even more rarely speak on. In reality I’ve lived my life jumping to all kinds of conclusions in majority of my personal relationships. For years I’ve adopted the practice of having all kinds of rules and regulations for potential love interests to adhere to, all in my quest to identify (and rectify) any prominent negative behavior that could possibly destroy me in the event of our impending breakup because surely, if my parents didn’t make it, how would I? If things don’t go my way, on my time, I exit immediately and never look back. I’ve been pretty cutthroat, black and white, and uncompromising. That conversation with my mother opened my eyes to my own self-sabotage all in an effort to avoid my parent’s relationship’s demise. I have walked away with a refreshed perspective. As my mother was deliberate in pointing out, “People don’t change overnight-I’ve realized that you have to work through things with people. In marriage, you can’t just ‘quit’ as soon as there’s a major issue.” I also have an even greater appreciation for the work that each of them have put into the past several years to form the semblance of friendship that they possess today.