broken home

by humanmama on February 18, 2012

I grew up in a broken home.

Hmm, that’s not exactly how I mean it. It wasn’t broken. But there were tough spots.

I grew up in a really (kind of snotty) upperclass neighborhood. My parents moved out there before I was born, when it was just little cottages in the sticks, away from Detroit city where everyone lived. By the time I moved away, my childhood home was a little house, surrounded by huge mansions. In middle school I was literally one of the only non-Jews, and I remember wishing to HaShem that I could just be a Jewish girl and get a Bat Mitsvah and have a million relatives give my family money, and a huge party. (Pretty sure the answer to that prayer was “Haven’t you even heard about Ethiopia?!! Geez.” At least, that’s what I could hear God saying in my mind.)

But my family was divorced. It was no biggie, really, as practically all my friends parents were divorced, too. I can remember a tiny handful of people in middle school with non-divorced parents, some who had parents divorced for so long that their parents were actually friends, and would come to concerts and conferences together, maybe even with their respective new spouses.

Mine was not like that. Mine still isn’t. But still, we weren’t an anomaly, there in Eastern Michigan. Just kids surviving, parents surviving, broken marriage and holidays, and the like.

When I moved to West Michigan, a college friend said to me: “You’re my first friend with divorced parents. Ever.” I couldn’t believe it. Was it possible that Divorce wasn’t as common as I thought? Was it acceptable that some marriages actually last through the years?

It’s many years after college, and I still hope mine is one of those marriages. I hear people say “you can’t think like that! You have to say ‘I know we won’t get a divorce!'” But, I’ll tell you, no one can know. Carpenter and I are happy and a great team, but it takes work, hard work, a lot of the time. It’s still my first reaction to think “this won’t work!” when we fight–even after almost 9 years of marriage. I’m sure I’ll still have that fight-or-flight reaction when it’s been 15, and maybe even when it’s been 50. But it’s all about getting through those times to the rest of times. And really that’s the same way with everything. Maybe if everyone had the same goals in mind world peace would be achieved, people would have decent jobs with decent pay, Stay at Home moms wouldn’t go crazy, happiness would be attainable, and marriages would last forever.

We have a big hole in our basement. And if he ain't worried, then I'm not worried. Not too much.

In this household, at least, I do have world peace. And I slowly tell myself each time of hardships that it’s worth the fight and not the flight. So, the only thing that’s broken about our home remains the basement, for now, and not the people. Thank God.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

hollyweasel February 19, 2012 at 2:22 am

That’s funny, I remember a point in grade school thinking it was weird my parents were still married because so many of my friends parents split up. I work for a company on the other side of the state (did you go to Western?) And divorce is almost unheard of amounf my associates.

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aj February 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Hol–I didn’t go to Western but the entire of W. Michigan is the same, in the Bible belt. There’s just not as much divorce, which I actually was very encouraged by, especially after a really hard high school experience between my two homes. Crazy how many things are different and only a few hours away. I love to imitate the W. Michigan accent, too :)

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Jessica February 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

It’s weird how different places even in the same state can have such different subcultures.

I’ve been thinking about how so many of my friends’ parents were divorced when we were kids, and now kind of wondering grimly which of the many marriages I’ve attended in the past decade won’t make it. Statistics are in our favor, though: educated people who marry each other have lower divorce rates than the national average. Maybe all of us will last! It really is incredibly hard work, though. I sympathize with your flight response because I have it, too, and have to remind myself that I took vows for a reason – so I can’t leave even if we fight about the same thing for the hundredth time!
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Katherine February 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

It’s kind of nice to know that I’m not the only one who has that knee-jerk, “Oh-my-God-this-isn’t-going-to-work-!” reaction when fighting with my partner. It’s also nice to hear someone else admit that relationships are hard work. My happily coupled friends claim that they don’t work hard at their relationships and I usually think that they’re lying and/or clueless, but when I’m feeling a little insecure I wonder if there’s something wrong with my relationship. Ultimately, though, I’m really happy about the hard work my partner and I have done together. We’ve grown a lot and we’re better for it.

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aj February 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm

It’s everyone’s response, I think. Actually I know several people who long for something else–maybe an affair or something–instead of leaving. But it IS hard work, and it’s best (just like being a parent) when you ADMIT it’s hard work and also very rewarding. But hard :)

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