Whatever, Mom | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Whatever, Mom

Another "broken family"

Some might say I come from one.

And I suppose that by pure definition, they'd be right. My parents did split when I was 15, my immediate family no longer functioned as a whole, and I was definitely a bit grief-stricken. It's a fitting description, but I still wouldn't fully agree...

For the longest time after my parents' divorce, I swore up and down that if I ever had children, I would never—under any circumstances—put them through such a heartbreaking experience.

Then I grew up. And I found myself in an ironic situation.

My son's dad and I were never married (an out-of-wedlock child—gasp!), but we tried for quite some time to make things work. Key word: tried. Although neither of us wanted the dreaded "broken family" situation for our son, it's just the way that cookie crumbled. And when I finally walked away from the relationship, I did so with the notion that raising my boy in a single-parent home was far better than corrupting him in a two-parent home filled with dysfunction and destruction.

I find it interesting, though—the effortlessness involved in finding statistics on the developmental difficulties associated with children of divorced parents. Apparently, all of these poor broods end up educationally-deprived, penniless and behind bars. But I can't seem to find much data from the other end of the spectrum—you know, those "unbroken" homes where Mom and Dad stayed together for the kids, living a lie and setting an awesome example of just how to hate your spouse's guts. Hmm.

And let's not forget the wrath of critics, post-split. They're like flies on a carcass when a single mother attempts to carry on with her life. I'm sorry, but the tired cliché about possible life-plan fails—well, it's universally applicable. So when things don't work out between a mother and her child's father, does this mean she closes all doors and joins the convent? No. She picks up the pieces and she moves the f#@k on.

If you asked me, I'd say my son is pretty lucky. He has two nice homes, three loving parents and now a much stronger model of what a healthy relationship really is. Oh, and he has a mother who is far more sane than she ever was before she ran off and "broke the family apart."

Besides, to my five-year-old, this reality is now totally normal. He's not going to be missing the brief time that Mom and Dad were together, because he's not going to remember it (phew!). The same probably goes for his time with just Mom. Although it's been the majority of his life thus far (and I can only hope that his little brain saves at least some of our special moments together), chances are it'll be another fading piece of his memory puzzle.

And while my situation was different, as I had an entire childhood of wonderful biological-family memories, I can still (finally) appreciate my parents' decision to part ways. It didn't break our family. It just taught us to discover wholeness in a different kind of way.

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