We all have certain dreams of how we think our life will be at certain points of time. And we can look back at the timeline of our lives and find pivotal markers in those timelines that later culminate into the collective experiences that make up our personal histories. While in the present our perception of our current circumstances, positive or negative, can change as we look back through the lenses of maturity and wisdom.
While I am coming up on my four-year divorcery, when an occasion arises that I am forced to be reminded of my singleness I admit I find difficulty in putting the death of the dream of what I always wanted but never had away. My own parents divorced when I was in second grade and I honestly do not know what living with two parents would be like. While why Mother did the best she could, I know she once had a husband and four young children and had definitive dreams for our lives. I have always believed that divorce is not so much the death of a marriage, but rather the death of a dream that will never be, even if it never was. I find myself caught between my own dreams, cumulative experiences and perceptions; caught between my own, now and then and wondering how if anything such things might affect my own children.
Over the weekend we spent time going through photos for a kindergarten project where my youngest girly needed pictures of herself and her family for “Star of the Week” poster. She gets upset when she sees pictures of herself as a baby as she says they remind her that she doesn’t know what it is like to live with both Daddy and Mommy. I try my best to tell her stories of the good times whenever possible yet this does not always make the tears go away.
On the same poster was a picture prominently placed right in the “My Family” section already of Daddy, New-ish Step-Mommy and New-ish baby sister and my girlies, leaving little room for any picture of Mommy. Suddenly this was a bit much for me. I left the girls to sift through the pictures for a few minutes so I could time to breathe. When I returned, the girls never knew that I shed a tear or two for the family life I never had or the family life I wanted. And yes, we are a real family. Something about the physical moving and adjusting of THAT photo to make room for one of me and my girls made me confront the reality of my personal situation. The juxtaposition of the two photos, the sharp dichotomy… I cannot explain.
Meanwhile, my eldest girly found a picture of herself and Daddy that was particularly touching. While this photo may not have seemed so significant at the time, on that day for her, seeing the love he had in his eyes for her meant everything. Perception is not always reality. Her perception of late is that Daddy doesn’t love her, yet the truth is that he has high expectations of his girls and does not always convey his feeling very well. Seeing this picture changed her perception and gave her a new understanding of the things I attempt to explain.
My lessons learned are that my perception of what I dream of the perfect partner and family life has changed and needs to be altered further. In the present, I simply want to enjoy my children while they are children and accept the reality that I could very well be alone for a long time and that is okay. I look back with the lenses of whatever maturity I possess now and that maturity says do not keep your head in the clouds. Keep your feet on the ground; all that glitters is not gold. I needed a reminder that things are not always as they seem. What appears to be a happy family may not be if you scratch the surface. That there are many different ways to convey and interpret the same thing, and of course, a picture is worth a thousand words.
-Charmed, I am Sure
PS This is worth a listen.