Sunday, November 25, 2007

The adult child of divorce

Let me start by saying that I am among the fortunate ones. I am 38 years old and both my parents and my only sibling are all alive and doing well health wise and financially. I REALLY love talking to them and seeing them.'s the problem. My parents separated in 1982. Yes, I remember the year. It was a bit traumatic for me. I graduated from eighth grade and my sister graduated from HS and went to college and lived on campus. That summer, I went on a trip to Pittsburgh with my grandmother and when I returned both my parents picked us up from the bus station. Once we got home, my dad told me that he had moved out and they were getting a divorce.

In the 25 years that have passed, my parents have gone from yelling and cursing at/about each other to not speaking to being able to be in the same room with each other when necessary. Usually this tolerance is reserved for funerals and my baby shower and graduations.

Well, you may be asking what the problem is. Here it is.

I live several hundred miles away. It takes me 7 hours to get back to Detroit. I have a three year old, a husband and sometimes some medical equipment (that's another post).
Here is a typical visit.
1. Stop at Dad's. Bring in luggage. Eat, talk, rest, sleep.
2. Get up on day two, repack the car, go to moms. The three of us sleep several days on the pull out in the living room of her one bedroom apartment. My husband is a late sleeper and my mother wakes at the crack of dawn and my husband I sometimes nap during the day because we have a youngster who sometimes has a late night, especially when we travel. But napping isn't feasible on a couch in a one bedroom.
3. During the visit we shuttle to my sisters. We eat some with her, some with mom, but the rest of the trip we don't see my dad because he doesn't just "hang out" where my mom is.
4. Then the last day, we pack back up, go back to my dads and spend the night before heading back.

This is the life of an adult child of divorce. I would love to go to Detroit and stop at one house and have everyone come and see us. We could venture out each day and spend a few hours here and there, but I'd like to have a room with a door on it. I'd like to not have 4 or more people in a bathroom. I'd like to not unpack my car 3 times during the trip. I'd like my parents to be able to eat dinner with us on a holiday instead of my dad never being invited because my mom is coming. Or when my dad was married if we'd eat at his house and my mom would be alone. Who can enjoy really enjoy eating when one of your parents is sitting at home watching tv until you bring them a plate.

I honestly skipped Thanksgiving in Detroit because my last visit wore me out. My sister, mother and father all live in suburbs that are an hour apart. I just didn't feel up to the shuffle. My sister bought a new house and invited us to stay there, but I'd feel guilty about not staying at my moms. I hope she doesn't read this before I work up the nerve to talk to her about it. But I have to find a better way to do that trip.

I LOOOOOOOOVE my family and feel like a whiny brat for saying this but it's really how I'm feeling.


African girl, American world said...

chile I got tired just reading about all that packing and unpacking and sleeping. My siblings do me the same way when I am in Atlanta. I have to sleep at 3 spots even if I am there 3 nights just so they all feel like I was there. The good thing is that I don't have to take the kids, they usually stay where their cousins are (which is just one house)

KimPossible said...

I feel you! I used to have to do that but not anymore. It is stressful. This was the first Thanksgiving my hubby and I had without having to host Thanksgiving for our entire family and friends. The funny thing is that I normally stay up and cook all night. Sometimes cooking right until the guests are about arrive. I sit down, talk, play games, eat with guest. Then, I am the one cleaning up and washing the dishes when its over. Most of my friends bring dishes before my family would. Hmm...what in the heck is wrong with that picture? I was so over it. I LOVE family and I LOVE this time of year. But, it felt good not to have to cook this year. The funny thing is that everybody was calling us asking us what we were doing this year for Thanksgiving. And I politely said, "this kitchen is CLOSED!" Love them but it is draining sometimes. And then you have to have a vacation from your family.