It's been a long time since I've written a "PYHO" post, but this was on my mind and my heart. A good friend and excellent writer recently wrote about good writing being that which scares us the most to write. The two things came together and, well, here I am, pouring my heart out. Please be gentle with it.
Whether it was adrenaline from having watched "Captain Phillips" or it was too many Diet Cokes (yes, I'm off the wagon), I stayed up much too late on Saturday to watch three episodes of the TV show "Parenthood." One continuing storyline is the decaying of the marriage of Joel and Julia. Without going into a lot of detail, I'll bring you up to speed by saying that Joel has decided to move out of the house. That was hard to watch because it hit too close to home.
It was, in the relatively recent past, me and my husband sitting on opposite sides of the room, opening a conversation with our children with the words "First, we want you to know that we both love you very much." Honestly, if you hear those words, brace yourselves. Hard times will follow.
The reasons that Mike and I separated were different that what is being played out on the television show, but I recognized the look that Joel and Julia gave each other as they were wrapping their arms around their children, attempting to make it all better, even momentarily. It's that look that says "What are we doing?" and "This is how it has to be" all at the same time. It's really an awful feeling, one where you want to show a loving, united front to your children when what you feel is torn apart at every point where you used to be connected.
I wish I could tell you if my kids reacted the way the children on the show reacted, but honestly I don't remember. That probably makes me a bad mom, but I was so wrapped up in -- and broken down by -- what seemed like the end of my marriage, I can't tell you what my kids said or did when we delivered the news that we were separating.
Then, there were the days and nights that followed. The ones that were so full of relief it felt as though this must certainly be the first breath I'd taken in months. And the ones that were so empty that no amount of television noise or bowls of ice cream or Facebooking could fill them.The kids would ask "when is Dad coming home" and I wouldn't have an answer that satisfied them, in part because he was away because that's where I'd sent him.
There were moments of uncertainty, when prayers where hastily thrown up with hopes that they would stick. And there were moments of enormous grace, when prayers were answered in ways we least expected.
I don't know what will happen on "Parenthood" with Joel and Julia (and I don't really care). If you'd told me that at this point, my story would have us living again as a family of 5 under one roof when two roofs -- permanently -- seemed like such a certainty not that long ago, I wouldn't have believed you. I can't even tell you what happened to bring our family back together. My only explanation is that same enormous grace...delivered moment by moment in prayers whispered and cried out, by me, by Mike, by plenty of people who love us. Grace that gave us each the courage to trust and to forgive, little bit by little bit.
Yes, it was hard to watch Joel and Julia walking that path, but nowhere near as hard as it was to walk it myself, not knowing where the road would lead. We are not far enough on the other side that I can be grateful for it having happened, for it shaping me as a person. But I'm grateful we are, indeed, on the other side.
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