On Divorce, and All the Trimmings

I am what is known as the product of divorce. As melodramatic as that sounds, it just means I grew up with my parents in two separate homes. I wasn’t the victim of endless screaming matches and custody battles, although I believe there were both. I’m not scarred from being caught in the middle or being unduly spoiled or missing out on quality time, although I believe all those things have been true at one time or another. The truth is that the divorce and its trappings were over before I was old enough to remember that any of it was happening at all.

As a kid in primary school, we had a bit of a club. The divorced parents club. And it wasnt sparsely attended, lets put it that way. It never occured to me that it was something to be sad about, to lament in any way. Just as some people had rich parents, or some people had strict ones, some people had divorced ones. When I got to high school, and started visiting other friends houses, I suddenly realised for the first time that having a family structure was something worth having, something to be proud of,  and yet something I didn’t and couldn’t have.

Compared to others, I was lucky. My folks could bear to be in the same room together, could have a decent conversation which didn’t only include the times I was being dropped off or picked up, and much to the surprise of my fellow club members in primary school, could take me out for the day together, and we’d all have a really nice time. I nearly got my membership card revoked. In fact, while I never remember actively wishing they were together, it took me until age 14 to work out why they were even apart.

At that age, I started wondering for the first time why certain things were different for me, and tracing them back to the relationship between my parents, a thought I’d never even entertained before. In many ways, I felt like I had two different lives when I was with each of them. They even called me different names, something which I hadn’t and haven’t seen in any other ‘product of divorce’ then or since. My mum had her secrets I wasnt allowed to share with my dad, and although far more serious than the usual “dont tell your father how much these shoes cost” of a regular household, no one ever taught me to feel uncomfortable about hiding the truth, and so I started to keep my own secrets and lies. The arguing and ignoring was by no means constant, [as I said, they usually got on well] but when it came, it was harsh and brutal, putting me in a frightening place I didn’t want to be, perhaps all the harder for the unexpected and sporadic nature of their fighting.

I got on with life in 1 and a half houses, finding my own family and friends to escape to, reminding myself that one day I would have my own home to build the way I wanted to. That I had a choice to treat marriage and family with the sacred language and actions that I saw others doing seemingly effortlessly, everywhere I turned but home. But it took me until my year abroad after high school to accept and open up about these issues which I didn’t even really know were affecting me.

Since then, and after I lost my father in 2006, I no longer ever feel like the product of divorce. It got devastatingly overtaken by my new title, That girl who lost her dad at 19. Not coincidentally, the timing also fits with when I started dating my husband, and began building that home I always dreamed of.

Nowadays, I try and take whatever bad feeling is left about my parental situation and channel it into being a better wife and mother at home. And I just hope that R is as surprised as I wasn’t, the first time he comes across a friend who doesn’t have both loving parents at home with them, as they deserve.

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Are you in there, Honey?

Based on the evidence I have gathered over the past 3 days, I would be very different without my husband.

Does anyone out there at all, bother cooking for one? I have resided for the most part this week, on tortilla chips, the remains of a cake I made last weekend, and some questionable cheese I found in the back of the fridge. Tonight I am opting for take-out, due to the fear I’m developing rickets from malnutrition. Even R looked unimpressed when I offered him cheerios for dinner. (That last part is a joke.. He was totally impressed. Still Joking. )

if I dont have the impetus to cook for one, you can imagine how I feel about cleaning for one. Washing up, wiping down surfaces, laundry… All out the window. My flat looks somewhat like a frat house, one occupied mainly by babies and single women, to explain all the books and toys and glossy magazines.

I havent opened R’s window blind since Monday, because I’m nervous that in the absence of my tall hubby it might snap all the way to the top and make me go get the step ladder to pull it down again. I havent eaten off real plates since he left because why should I have to scrape and clean them? And I’ve pretty much worn my pyjamas under all my clothes this week for the ease of the frequency I’ve been napping. I need a whole new word for how lazy I’ve apparently become.

In addition, in the short space of a few days, I have forgotten how to hold a conversation. Not having anyone above the age of 1 to talk to from 7pm until whenever I happen to cross paths with a bystander, is not good for my people skills. A lady said “excuse me” this morning on my way to work, and as my first adult communication of the day, I took out a headphone and snapped “What?!” Shockingly, she muttered “nevermind…” and hurried away. If perchance you found me via google nice lady who probably needed directions, my apologies, I am tired and grouchy from 3 days of single-mumming.. Mea Culpa, and I hope you found your way.

So there you have it. Without my other half, I am greedy, unhealthy, messy, lazy and rude. Luckily, C is coming back this evening, and I can get back to normal. Somewhere underneath everything, (pjs included) there will be again a wife and mother who makes lovingly prepared nutritious meals (for the most part), keeps her house sparkling (well… ish.), knows how to do basic household chores and can even hold a decent conversation and make people laugh once in a while.

(Here’s that anti feminist voice inside me coming out again…) It just looks like I need a man to make me bother to find her. All I can say is, its a good job I’m not single. After all, with these startling realisations about what I would be like, who would marry me? 😉