Family is said to be the most important thing in life, so what happens when you lose it? What happens when your family goes from being whole to broken? I could see it in her eyes, her painful eyes, something wasn’t right. My mom likes to think she can cover her emotions and act as if she is perfectly happy all the time, when that isn’t the case. Yes, of course my mom isn’t perfect but to me she is the greatest mom there is. I thank her every day for trying to keep it together for the sake of my brother and I, but with age comes knowledge, and her emotions were getting easier to read by the day. Parker, who is my younger brother, had no idea what was going on, and its best that way. He’s a child; and is as innocent as any other child. He shouldn’t have to worry about this. His wonderful, bright and imaginative brain should be on what super hero he wants to be next and who he is going to save, not try to worry about saving my parents marriage.
“Mommy where’s daddy” Parker would ask.
My mother would answer, “He’s just working late sweetie, your fathers a very hard working man”. This answer became familiar to me, as it would always be my mother answer with a slight variation.
“Your father had extra work to do tonight honey”
“Your father got called into a meeting at the last minute love, but he will be here when you wake up”.
While I admire my father for being a hard working man and dedicated to his job, I wished he would have been more dedicated to my family, and as selfish as it sounds, more dedicated to me. My father started “working late” and it made me wonder, why doesn’t my father want to be around? Does he not enjoy spending time with Parker and I? Has he found a new daddy’s little girl? I know I’m not perfect, but I’ll try to be daddy, I’ll try to be. I will clean my room every night! I’ll brush my teeth, eat my veggies, and be in bed by 9:00, I promise! I won’t sass, I will mind my manners, I will do anything you say to keep this life. It’s the only one I’ve ever known. I couldn’t comprehend a different one. No amount of brownnosing could change the imminent future. Every day my mother would have bags under her eyes, and while concealer is a gift from God, it couldn’t cover up those bags. She was worn out, not only emotionally but also physically. She became thin and fragile, and depression got the worst of her. While I knew to an extent what the situation was, I honestly wasn’t prepared for what was about to come my way.
I remember coming home to my mom, my mom’s best friend, and my mom’s best friend’s daughter, who happened to be my best friend. From the second I walked into the room, I could tell it was not going to be one of our get togethers filled with laughter and hide and go seek. This play date consisted of no playing, but instead was filled with pain. Instead of being put together like my mother always is, pain covered her. Her face was pale and red, with her eyes swollen. Her breathing was loud and inconsistent, with short uneven breaths taken in, and one big breath let out. Her confidence was gone, and she stood in every way but tall. And this is when my family became broken.
My mom told me my parents were getting a divorce. I viewed this as a heads up that something destructive was coming my way. There we sat the next day, in the counselor’s office, my mother, father, brother and I. My father immediately broke into tears. There’s something you should know about my father, he never cry’s, and if he does, I’ve never seen it. My father is the most confident man you will ever meet; with his head always head higher then those around him. He always carries himself extremely well, with the best posture. Not on this day though, as his head sunk to the ground with his shoulders slouched over him. He was ashamed and you could see it on his face. His head hung low the entire session, with his eyes staring at nothing but the floor. He didn’t engage, his words didn’t come out straight, and sitting still didn’t come easily.
The counselor shared with us that my parents would be getting a divorce, which I like to think I was prepared for since I knew the day before. But how can a young girl prepare herself again to hear that wonderful word “divorce”. I’m somewhat glad Parker didn’t understand what was going on, as he slowly could adjust to it. I however, could comprehend what divorce truly meant, no matter how badly I wished I couldn’t. After the counseling session, my brother went with my father, and I went with my mother, as she wished to spend time alone with me. In this time, she shared with me that she wanted to be up front with what was going on, and while I thank her for being honest, honesty was used as a weapon in this situation. I soon found out that my parents were getting a divorce due to another women, one of my mom’s closest friends. Sickening isn’t it. As I was young at the time the divorce happened, it didn’t really hit me what exactly happened till my teen years. When my dad would have Stacy over, I was comfortable with her because I had been around her my entire life. But as I grew older, I started to despise her.
One week at moms, the next week at dads. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it? While my brother and I had two houses, we didn’t exactly have a home. While I like to think I can blame Stacy for all of this, my dad unfortunately is the culprit to. My mother claims to her friends that my father “thought with his head, and not the one on his shoulders”. While I didn’t understand it at the time she said it, I cant help but laugh at it now. My mother is very clever when it comes to stating the obvious, without stating the obvious. However, she had no problem stating the obvious when it came to Stacy. There were nights filled with tears as I would over hear my mom crying to her friend
“I trusted her, I confided in her, I told her everything”
“She was my best friend, she knew all my problems with my husband, and fixed them by opening her legs”
Obviously this was a lot to take in as a teenager, but I was at the age where I understood everything my mother was saying. Stacy, who was close as anyone, destroyed my family. She took away my father from Parker and I. What kind of person has no soul and has no problem not only breaking up their family, but their best friends family? It was like a bad “Wuthering Heights” adaption. Stacy aspired to the upper class and she viewed my father as an entrance to what she believed her life should be like. She wanted vacations, expensive jewelry, posh clothing, and ultimately the respect that comes with it all. And so, Stacy would hear all my mom’s problems, and try to help her. While in secret, she was trying to fix them herself. While I like to despise Stacy for what she has done, deep down a part of me thanks her. I know that sounds inhuman and weird, but hear me out.
My parents weren’t happy together, as hard as that is to admit. If they were happy together, my dad wouldn’t have felt the need to have an affair. Yes, my dad could have been thinking with his head, and not the one on his shoulders. If this were true though my dad wouldn’t have felt the need to get re-married. Marriage is suppose to be sacral, and happen once. Yes, it was difficult watching my father re-marry. And I understand how hard it was on my mother, but in the end it made them both happy. My father wasn’t “working late” anymore. He was there at night to spend time with Parker and I, and we were able to not only wake up to our father but were able to see our father before we fell asleep. While he was still dedicated to his work, he became more dedicated to Parker and I, because he was able to build a relationship with us stronger then the one we had before.
My mother no longer had to wait up at night wondering where my father was. She didn’t have to fill our heads with the answer “daddy is just working late”. By letting my dad go, she really let herself free. She didn’t have to worry about covering her emotions anymore, for the sake of children. She could gain back her confidence, and while it was broken once, I knew she wouldn’t let it get broken again. She was happy. While I’m sure if my parent’s marriage did work out, as in actually working out, she would be happy as well. But you can’t force something that’s not there. My mom realized that she couldn’t force herself to be happy, and this divorce, while it took time, allowed her to be honestly happy. It allowed her to be healthy, both physically and mentally, which was such a relief to see.
Stacy, although she couldn’t keep her legs closed, is what made my dad happy. Although, I don’t see exactly what he sees in her, its’ nice to see him happy. It’s nice to have him around and its nice to see Parker grow up with a father who’s actually there. While it sucks that part of my childhood was filled with “daddy working late” I’m glad the rest of Parker’s childhood doesn’t have to be this way anymore.