Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love Triangle

"Some Mama's and Daddies are loving in a straight line, take 'forever' to heart and then take a long sweet ride; 
but some Mama's and Daddies let their heart strings tear and tangle.
And some Mama's and Daddies run out of love in '94 and some Mama's and Daddies don't even talk no more; 
and some Mama's and Daddies let their heart strings tear and tangle.

And some of us get stuck, yeah some of grow up in a Love Triangle."

I truly wish I was the one to write this song, it hits extremely close to home – the childhood homes I grew up in. It’s so raw, full of emotion and gives you the reality of growing up as the child of divorced parents.

As a kid of divorce, it can hurt at times when the whole point of family is to be a unit with both parents, making memories together. When your parents are divorced, it’s just not that way. You have two bedrooms, two Christmases, two sets of parents, two sets of siblings, pretty much two of everything. Two very separate lives, completely different from the other. 

As a kid, my Pop lived 3 hours away and would pick me up every other Friday and drop me off on Sunday. Every Sunday, I remember myself, as well as my Pop, getting a little sad, emotional and teary eyed because we wouldn't get to see each other for two whole weeks. I wouldn't get to go on those special outdoor adventures, or smell the scent of car oil that was stained into his clothes, or go the Fast Stop and pick up bean and cheese burritos that we both have a weakness for. 

My Pop and I had some tough times, and sometimes I think he hated that I was getting old enough to realize it and I think he hated it even more when he knew that I knew we didn't have much - like I did at my Mama's. I never said anything. I never asked for anything. I knew it tore him up at the time that he worked so hard to make a poor man's dollar, but he offered me everything he possibly could. Even though I was just a little girl, I knew that money couldn't ever buy my time with him and that I wanted to be there more than anything.

Now, 2 weeks may not sound that long, but when you're a little girl and live 287 miles from your Daddy, that seems like eons - an eternity could pass by while you're dying to see someone you love as much as you love your Daddy. After all, a Daddy is every little girl's first hero. 

Now, that's not to say that I didn't miss my Mama every second I was away from her. Even though I was hunting, fishing, working on cars, riding horses and dirt bikes, or swimming in the pool or the river, I still cried for my Mama. There were times even then, even though I loved my Pop to pieces and completely adored him, I idolized my mother and wanted to see and be with her. I wanted her there with me and at times, I couldn't understand for the life of me why she couldn't be. I ached horribly for her, because it was hard not to see her, especially when I lived with her for 9 months out of the year. I wanted her there. To have her sing, "You Are My Sunshine" to me, to sit on the edge of my bed and brush my hair across my forehead with her gentle fingers while she watched me sleep. For me to wake up to her doing so by the smell of her perfume in the air.

The pains of wanting both parents with you at all times was always like fighting tooth and nail. When I was a toddler until about the age of 6 or 7, I could never figure out why I couldn't have both parents with me. It was either "Mommy's turn" or "Daddy's turn." I could never understand why it couldn't be "Both your turn at the same time." I would sit and wonder why Daddy was always gone or why he had to live somewhere else. Then once I started school, it was hard to understand why the other children got to have both their parents living with them and why they got to be with both their parents for every event in their lives, but I couldn't. I couldn't wrap my little mind around that. I would have loved to have my Pop there in the audience during school choir concerts, in the stands for softball games, or there during paint nights. And sure, I wanted my Mama to see my big splashes off the rope swing into the river and yes, I wanted her to see how I could saddle up and gallop away into the sunset filled pastures, or see how I could check the oil and change a car battery by myself. The things one parent misses out on because they are sharing time with the child they share with the other...

It may be hard for the parents, but to the child, it's a million times worse. Playing the middle man like the baseball from the pitcher to the catcher, from the catcher back to the pitcher... Constantly. In the middle of everything - the smiles, the tears, and even worse... the fights.

As I mentioned before, as a kid, my Pop lived 3 hours away and would pick me up every other Friday and drop me off on Sunday. When I became a mother, I wanted the best for my daughter and didn't want her to feel the things I did not seeing my Dad when I was with my Mom, or not seeing my Mom when I was with my Dad.

Unfortunately, life happens. People are people and sometimes it doesn't work out. That's really hard, but that's the reality of it, and that's the normal for a lot of kids in divorced homes. They have to split their time and split their love. It really isn't that fair, but it's a lot of our 'normality' and a hell of a lot of our truth is in that.

As a small child, I wondered for the longest times what I had done wrong. I had endlessly wondered, "Am I being punished? Is this what happens when you aren't a good girl? That your parents fight and yell and scream at each other? That one of them packs up all their belongings and moves to another house?"

I didn't know it then, but looking back at it now, the answer is: No.

It is never a child's fault that two parents get a divorce. It is never really anyone's fault, but sadly, the child is the one who suffers the most from its outcome. I told myself that if I ever found myself in a situation where my child's father and I didn't work out, that I would let her and her Daddy have free game on when they wanted to see each other.

If he just happened to have the day off unexpectedly and wanted to come get her - Done.
If she woke up one morning and said, "I want to go to Daddy's today," - Done.
If they wanted to see each other but it's not "his" weekend yet - Done.

I never wanted - nor do I ever want - my child(ren) to ever feel like they have to fight to see their other parent. I never want them to feel as unhappy as I did, feeling like they were being punished or feeling like their heart strings were torn and tangled in our love triangle.

Trying to 'look on the brightside' however, growing up with divorced parents wasn't always bad. Yeah it hurt like hell some times more than other, but it also had some pro's to help balance out the con's. Like I said, you get two of everything. I gained two new parents, some new siblings, and two new gigantic families full of love to the mix. I earned two new families with different traditions, which have instilled into my being. I got to have two birthdays, Christmases, twice the love and most importantly - I got double the support I needed when I was having a hard time with the separation of the other parent. 

Luckily, when my parents remarried, they took "forever to heart and took their long, sweet ride." I can only hope that going forward in this whirlwind of life, that when I "stand at the screendoor and watch my whole world run towards an old Ford" that her father and I can give her all the happiness, love and support that she deserves.  


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