And it does, gone forever.
Last night I had dinner with my ex-boyfriend’s mom. I’ve known her for a very long time and haven’t seen her in a while – I went to high school with two of her kids, and dated her older son for 6 years. They were my first true introduction to a family that had good communication skills, healthy boundaries, and respect for each other. Holidays at their house were like the holidays I grew up with, with a house full of decorations, parties and people everywhere playing games, wrapping presents, eating tons of yummy food – just celebrating like happy humans do. The only difference in their family holidays from mine was the lack of molesting older brothers and constant sense of fear and trying to appear calm. It was a revelation to experience, and one I treasured.
Now, all these years later, she’s been married for 50 years, and her kids are a mess. Divorces, custody battles, alcoholism – even my ex is heading into a second marriage. The concept of marriage and commitment has changed drastically, and in some ways it’s good. Why stay with a partner who abuses you? Then again, there’s no longer compelling incentives to work through difficult issues, or to find a way to navigate the heartbreaking times. I have a hard time letting go, which is why I avoid commitment entirely; it’s difficult to give up on something I’m invested in. Besides, I’m deathly afraid of marrying a man like my paternal unit – better to not take that chance.
I have freedom and adventures and lots of fun. But I miss having a family, imperfect and messy though they always are. Time has slipped away, and so many moments and opportunities have passed. I wonder sometimes what life would have been like if I did go through with my wedding, but I’m sure it would have ended in divorce just like so many others – even the ones that seemed so strong and loving.
One Minute More – Capital Cities
Young Girls – Bruno Mars