Telling your kids about dating after divorce

25-Feb-2016 14:23

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It has been raining since morning."You look like a drowned rat," Dad says, laughing, as he walks toward me. "This divorce has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Mom says calmly. I'm learning how to be alone again." I'd never heard Mom sound so vulnerable and honest—which makes me listen closely. Mom moves toward me and stretches out her hand, then pulls it back.

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If John and I get into an argument, it doesn't mean our relationship is doomed. I can see now that I knew the muted version of who they were. Even though I put my parents' divorce behind me, I don't have to completely let go.John and I put off getting married when my parents first split up.It didn't feel right—and it's been work getting me to feel comfortable with marriage since. Dad had paint cans and drop cloths scattered about.Of course, Mom and Dad didn't have a perfect marriage. When they made it past their 27th wedding anniversary, I assumed they were thinking about retiring, not about splitting up. On their own for the first time in 27 years, Mom and Dad needed guidance.

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My life suddenly seemed a series of "lasts"—a final Christmas, an end to eggs together at the breakfast table. Many of our parents stayed together because we'd be more mature once we headed off to college, walked down the aisle, or had our first baby. My younger sister taught Dad how to cook a red sauce.A piece of me will always be preserved in those walls, in the shadows that dance across my childhood bedroom at dusk.