My wife and I were blessed to spend Spring Break in California with several family members. On my side we visited my dad and step-mom, my brother and his girlfriend, as well as my other brother and his wife. With Lisa’s family we saw her dad, two brothers, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend. Lisa’s other brother and mom drove down with us. As you can imagine, it was a lot of family in a 6-day span.
Piggy-backing on last week’s blog, divorce sucks.
Much of our time was used up trying to figure out when to spend time with who, and how to spend some with Lisa’s parents separately at different times. Not to mention, my mom drove the five hours (passing us on the freeway) to our house to watch our dog for the week. So I didn’t even get to see my mom over Spring Break!
I left California understanding/realizing further difficulties of divorce. As a child I had two of each holiday. Manageable. Now, being married to someone with divorced parents, I can have up to four of everything! When you’re a little kid it simply means extra presents. When you’re an adult, it means headaches.
What is so hard is that you love your family. Loving your family means that you want to see them, you want to try to please them, and when you can’t please everyone you start to feel bad. I didn’t want to spend two days here, two days there, and two days over there. I wanted to spend six days with everyone in the same place!
One of the favorite shows in our house is Parenthood. Simply put, it’s a show about family. The story lines revolve around two brothers and two sisters, and their lives with their spouses, kids, and parents. All of them live in the Bay Area, and they quite often get together at the grandparents’ house. Those are the scenes that cause jealousy to rise up in me. Seeing this entire family in the living room playing charades, or all around a table in the back yard eating dinner, the patriarch at the head, makes me wish I could have that!
Of course, this isn’t to say I can’t have a great time with my family, or that I don’t have wonderful memories playing games with large contingents of them. I do. But there is something magical when I witness three generations of one family all together at once, all together in love, and I selfishly want that. I want my child to experience the holidays that I had before my parents and aunts and uncles, all got divorced. Dinner with 15-20 people, aunts and uncles and cousins all over the place, presents sprawling out to the middle of the living room from under a massive grandma-decorated tree. It’s how I imagine heaven.
Maybe divorce in my family has made the holidays and Spring Breaks a bit more difficult for me as an adult. Though true, I do also cherish the love multiplied-by-four. But maybe, just maybe, in 30 years I’ll get to be the patriarch at the head of a table, with my kids and grandkids enjoying a barbecue together in my back yard over Spring Break