Before Our Family Was “Broken”

My parents would have been married for 35 years this month, had they not divorced when I was a teenager 20 years ago. Somehow, very briefly, it came up in a very general conversation with a close friend recently, and I haven’t been able to shake feelings about it since.

My younger sister has very vague memories of our time “as a family” and my brother has none as he was only four years old when they divorced. I have all the memories of a whole different life a whole lifetime ago. I remember so many good times, so many picturesque flashes of happiness, so much fun. Equal amounts of fights, so many tears, so much bitterness also populate these memories of forever ago.

Maybe it’s because I have my own husband and kids now, I find myself wondering “what if” so often. I daydream about if they would’ve stayed together, if they could have somehow worked things out, how different MY adult life would be, or would it even be different at all…? Would there be more memories of laughter filled game nights or more torture of wondering if tomorrow they could be better?

I wonder if they could have found the lost magic would my brother and sister have more of the great memories of hanging out at Coffee Call on Friday evenings because we did well in school that week (we did this nearly every Friday!). Or would they be stuck with more memories of harsh words from angry mouths that can never be taken back or forgotten? Would they remember more snowballs in the summer time or more loud screaming matches after bedtime?

Are no memories better than these truths?

I do not have an unrealistic fantasy of them ever reconciling; I doubt I would ever even support such a venture. I am very aware of ALLL of the reasons things just didn’t work out, and I have not had a bad life because of it. I have been very blessed to have witnessed both of them happily remarry and live amazing, happy, joy-filled lives. I’m pretty sure there was a time in both of their lives they weren’t sure they could ever get past all of the devastation that their divorce brought to everyone, and yet, here they are basically living their best life everyday.

It’s a gentle reminder that I need to be more intentional with my own husband; I need to focus on us more. It’s the nudge that I need to focus on making all the memories with my own family. Having all the giggles, winning all the tickle fights, creating our own family traditions, being in all of our moments. It’s a reminder that I can do things differently and differently is okay, maybe even better.


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