We went for a family drive, just a little break from everything. We used to do it more often, get the kid a nap. We stopped for ice cream, I put on an episode of This American Life. The episode happened to be themed around babysitting and the second story was about a group of kids who were stranded at the airport on their way between parents at Christmas. She kept calling them divorced kids.
I was a divorced kid. My parents separated when I was three and divorced a few years later. When I was in school there were two of us at first, and then more as we got older, but still I think the majority of my classmates had married parents.
I always knew my family was different. When people asked about my family it was me, my sister, my mom and my grandparents. It got complicated when I added in my dad and three half-siblings. I know I confuse people when they ask if I have brothers and sisters because I usually say yes, I have a sister, but then in future conversations I mention my brother or another sister. We didn’t grow up together, they’re older. My Dad is the same age as my husband’s grandfather. It’s different.
I never intended to get married because divorce seemed inevitable. I was kind of shocked to find Joe and want to marry him. It was not long into our relationship when I realized I wanted to be married to him.
It also shocks me that Joe’s parents are still married after over 40 years.
Joe lives with the conviction that our marriage is forever just like his parents, and I try to believe him.
I live with a different history than he does and try to imagine that some people do stay together, work through the hard times, don’t hurt each other.
This year my mom suggested we invite my dad to Christmas. For 29 years Christmas has been my Mom’s and Boxing Day has been the day we spend at my Dad’s house with that side of the family. This year, my daughter will have her third Christmas with all four of her grandparents (plus two aunties and Great-Gramps).
It’s different, she’ll have to figure out her family the same way I did, but it’s working.