Monday, January 25, 2010

Family Blessings

When I was about 7, my parents got separated and then divorced. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, for about 10 years after that my parents were reasonably pleasant to each other (during the weekly “daughter exchange”) but there were no joint family gatherings, birthday celebrations, school functions, etc. I’ll be honest, it was a difficult time, but I always knew that my parents loved me, they were never hostile or unpleasant to each other, and it just became a fact of life. When I was really young, I thought I was the odd kid out – I did not know anyone whose parents were divorced. When I got into high school, I became aware of other kids with divorced parents, and discovered that my situation fell into the middle of the pack – there were kids with much more amicable situations and kids whose situations were much worse than my own.

Towards the end of my junior year of high school there were signs of a change – I was playing clarinet in the high school band and my band teacher said that I really needed a new clarinet – to the tune of at least $500. I mentioned this to both of my parents (who met as musicians in college) and miraculously (to me, at that time) they talked and decided that they would buy the instrument for me together. By the time I graduated from high school the next year, my mother hosted my graduation party at her house and in addition to friends from school, my father and his family were in attendance and some of my mother’s family had come to town for it as well. I don’t know if (being a teenager at the time) I was able to express to them how much that meant to me and what a turning point that was in my life. That was really the first time in years that I thought, “Wow, if I get married, my parents would both be there!” Again, not that my parents did not love me with all of their hearts, but sometimes divorce and the circumstances following, throw up enormous roadblocks – particularly when there are children involved. That year, my mother was at my dad’s house for my birthday party, and we’ve never looked back from there!

(Obviously) I did eventually get married and there was no question that both of my parents (and my father’s new wife – all three of whom my friends and I began referring to as “the parentals”) were at my wedding – in fact, mom and dad split the bill – a LOT more than that clarinet, huh guys? And one of the most touching moments for me was that they got together at a local recording studio and recorded a cd of themselves playing trumpet (dad) and trombone (mom) which we used for the processional and recessional music during the ceremony. I believe Mom commented to Dad, “Have you ever seen two more indulgent parents?” as they were paying the bill for the recording sessions…

Friday night for my daughter’s 9th birthday, Mom was in town from Florida, she and I went over to pick up my grandmother (Dad’s mom) and Dad and my stepmother Bridgett came over to celebrate. Mom, Dad, and Bridgett all went together with my daughter to her school for Grandparents’ Night, and then came back to my house where we all had dinner and cake together. It was really a fun night! I was thinking later that night how lucky we all are that we are at this place in our lives – this has become the norm for us – we all celebrate together as a family, and my girls would never know that this wasn’t always the case. I am so thankful for that, and I try not to take it for granted. I know others who are not as blessed as we are, and I just encourage anyone finding themselves in that situation to try and find common ground in your love for your children. It will make such a difference in their lives!

1 comment:

Christine said...

You and your girls are very lucky!! I love the pic of your parents with the instruments all dressed up for your wedding. They are to be commended!

Additionally, it was so very nice to see them walking with your girl in pre-school the other day. They are wonderful grandparents.

I've always loved all 3 of your parentals....