The kids and I were able to spend most of last week in Oklahoma. It was nice. Christmas was the last time we were there. May is too long to wait to see family. The original plan was to stay through the weekend. We made it until Friday. Not that he would say anything, but I could tell that Kermit needed help. Add to that, the kids spent just about all of Thursday grumping at each other. It was time to be home.
On the first night at Gramma's I had the most terrible dream. We were still travelling, the kids and I. I drove off an impossibly high cliff. As the truck went hurtling toward the earth, everyone fell out. The truck landed upside down, the children were scattered like dropped toys. If I could find everyone and scoop them up, they would be OK. I couldn't find Jacob. I had everyone else, but not Jacob. I was frantic. There were two emergency personnel standing by, but they were not helping. They just stood, smiled and did a parade wave. Completely useless. And I was completely helpless.
Monday evening, shortly after we arrived, we went to see Jim Bohannan. The kids, particularly Daniel and Hannah, are seriously questioning how we are all related.
Daniel: "Is Grandpa Bo your REAL dad? Hannah says that he is your real dad."
Mom: "What do you mean by REAL dad?"
Daniel: "Is he your biological father?"
Mom: "Yes. But Grandad adopted Aunt Jada and I when I was your age. He's my dad."
Joe: "WHAT!? You're adopted? Is Franny your real mom?"
It was so much easier when they were younger. They just kind of accepted that everyone in Oklahoma was named grandma and grandpa. Now they are older. They are trying to make sense of the world. I am trying to answer their questions honestly and simply without too much emotional baggage.
I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if the first divorce hadn't happened. Or the second. Or the third. Would I be any happier? The family tree would be less complicated, but that doesn't guarantee felicity.
My 'original' set of parents married much too young. In my adult years, I learned that the relationship was abusive. I understand why that divorce happened. It needed to happen. But the second one...I remember when my mother told me. She was sitting on her bed. I was standing next to the closet in her room. She used his name when she told me. Not 'Dad'. She used his name, like she was trying to erase some of the pain. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to react. I couldn't even cry. I was hurt, but I didn't know it yet.
So, I sometimes wonder how my life would be different, but I don't regret my life. All the experiences, good and bad, have shaped who I am today. I feel the inconvenience, the frustration, the chaos, the complexity, the hurt of being a child of divorce. However, it doesn't weigh me down.
I've spent too much time trying to suppress or push away the negative emotions. It is only when I have allowed myself to feel them and embrace them that I found some measure of peace. It's OK to feel bad. It's OK to feel angry or hurt or depressed or whatever. My reactions to the feelings are more important than the feelings themselves. Besides, it's not all bad. I have the most awesome stepmom ever! I can't say enough good about her.
Well. This has been lengthy and rather personal. In order to lighten the mood a bit, I'll close with a 'Sarah' quote.
Says Sarah (my delightful 3 year old) to her Great-Grandma Ellene (equally delightful) about Grandma's new puppy: "If he is bad, we can take him to Texas and my daddy will shoot him with his BB gun."