Divorce was this big scary thing when I was growing up, the cancer of the family unit - deadly, or at the very least crippling. It was prevalent in every stream of pop culture - movies and TV shows were written about it, songs were composed, and I think Judy Blume built her entire writing career around it. The fact that my parents did not divorce was kind of like a second shoe hovering in mid-air, waiting to fall with a loud "CLUNK" and shatter my entire sense of well-being. I figured it was only a matter of time.....
Then the fact that the shoe never fell became a near social embarrassment. My parents told me of a time when I came home from the first grade, in tears because everyone else had two sets of parents (or at least two homes) and I had just the one. I don't remember feeling that way, but I would not put it past me. In later years, of course, I met other children of unbroken homes, but we didn't advertise it. We would nod solemnly to one another in the halls, or get together on weekends in the single-family homes where we spent ALL our weekends. Every weekend.
What a gyp!
As I grew ever older and broke out on my own, my parent's marriage become a fascinating subject to me. From an external viewpoint, there really was no reason NOT to divorce.....nor any compelling reason to stay together. It made no sense. I didn't get it. They didn't seem extraordinarily happy, or even content. They seemed to almost hate each other. But it was kind of like the way you hate the stupid dog that lays on your feet and drools all over your shoes. It feels much better when he finally gets up and leaves....but a part of you misses that damn dog. I figured my parents must have been drooling on each other's shoes. Hey, whatever works, right?
Now my own marriage is also a source of endless fascination for me. It does make sense. My husband and I are happy, and content. We work, in the way that I can only guess marriages were designed to do. The interesting, compelling part is that I am not sure WHY that is. Somewhere, somehow, we side-stepped the whole drooling dog thing. We are fortunate. Or have a LOT of dumb luck. All I know is, my shoes are dry.
Our own children have brought up the divorce thing one or twice, mostly in the context of friends and family that have taken that path. They are curious, and I imagine it will not be long before they are jabbing at our marriage with sharp sticks, trying to see what makes it tick. I hope they figure it out, so they can clue me in......and I hope they don't eventually hate us for denying them two separate Christmases.