Friday, May 18, 2007

Cushions on the Floor

For the first few years after my parents divorced and until my father moved to the mainland when I was eight or so, my siblings and I spent about every other weekend and a good chunk of our summers at his house. My memories of this time are brief and scattered: eating out more often than we did with my mom; being dared by my stepbrother to poke a whole in the water bed, then being yelled at by him for actually doing it; going to Castle Park to ride the bumper cars and water slides; being frustrated because my stepmother didn't have a chart on an index card for me to follow when setting the table, like my mom did; and distributing the couch cushions around the living room floor, then pretending they were rocks and the carpet was lava as we hopped from one end to the other.

Apart from never feeling too comfortable around my stepmother and stepbrother (I think I liked my stepsister, though), I don't remember being particularly bothered at that young age by the fact that my parents were divorced. It was not until I began to approach adolescence that I concluded, like many tweens and teens, that my life was Absolutely Horrible and The Worst Ever, and decided The Divorce was responsible for all my misery. Sadly, I didn't begin to grow out of this phase until I went to college, and I didn't really come to terms with my parents' divorce until my early twenties, some time after I was married. I eventually got to the point where I no longer feel the need to call my parents' divorce bad or good--it simply is--but it took me a long time to get there.

This evening as I was making dinner, S-Boogie scattered the couch cushions across my living room floor and hopped from one to the other while Little Dude followed on hands and knees. I'm generally disturbed by parallels between my parents' divorce and mine--for instance the fact that S-Boogie is just a year younger than I was--but tonight I was not bothered by the strong visual reminder of summer days spent cushion-hopping at my dad's house, perhaps because it's a happy memory. When I look into my children's future and see my own past, I remind myself first that the journey to peace doesn't have to be so painful for them, and second, that if my children are going to hate me when they're teenagers because that's what teenagers do, there's really nothing I can do about it. Like so many things in life, the only person I can control is me. All I can do is love them, be the best father I can, and hope for the best.

1 comment:

Marci said...

Very insightful...I like the conclusions you drew. I think (for whatever it is worth) that S-Boogie and "Tiffy" (can't remember the blogonym you have already given him) are very lucky to have you as their dad