A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie with my daughter on HBO. The movie, “It’s Complicated” starred Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. Perhaps, you may have seen it. If you have not, the movie deals with a possible reunion of a divorce couple. In fact, the ex couple had an affair and found universal pleasures that they did not enjoy when they lived together as husband and wife under the same roof. Their chemistry was uncanny. Even when they danced together, their steps were harmoniously aligned. Of course, years together have the ability to foster familiarity.
As a divorcee, the movie was captivating to say the least. Without question, it held my attention. What became interesting was not the movie, but my daughter’s reaction to what she was watching. Out of no where, I heard a sniffle and as I looked in her direction as she was sitting on the opposite end of the sofa, I saw her crying big buffalo tears. Immediately, I asked, “What’s wrong; are you alright?” She replied, “I am fine. I just wished that you and my daddy were still together. Mommy, do you think that you would ever take him back?”
Stunned, I held her in my arms and consoled her. Just like the children in the movie, they loved their parents, but they too were crying because as they said, “They had never gotten over the divorce.” Subsequently, a reuniting, or the thought thereof was foreign. They were in shock. The youngest son, just like my daughter, had limited memory of the dad even living in the house. The aftermath of a divorce leaves lingering residue long after you ink the bottom line of the decree; long after you finalize and disallow the oath that you agreed to keep. Do you ever walk away “scott free”? When children are involved, the answer may be no!
That is when it occurred to me that I had never really talked to my daughter about the divorce. We avoid topics that are difficult and uncomfortable. Although twenty plus years had passed, it is never to late to communicate relationship honesty and to do what perhaps you should have done years ago had you been wise enough at that time. So as we talked, I expressed to my daughter that I loved her daddy and will always care for him. Upon hearing those words, she smiled.
I took that time to respectfully further ellaborate on our parting. I told her that he and I had major philosophical differences and opinions. I am not into daddy-bashing. At this stage of the game, it is not necessary and serves no useful purpose. What is important is that she loves and respects her daddy. An account of what he did to me may have altered her views. Thus, I decided to “let those sleeping dogs lie.” Thinking that I was off the hook, she cornered me with the second part of her original question, “Mommy, is there hope for the two of you getting back together?”
I realized that most children want the solidarity that both parents bring to the family setting. No matter what age, children love parental unity. They want to return home and see both parents living in the same house like yesteryear. Knowing that she was persistent, I knew that I could not evade her question. I also knew that she was wise beyond her years and would understand the difficulties of a reunion. Too much had happened! Her dad and I had grown apart and moved on with our lives. So I punked out. I took the easy way out and answered her by saying, “It’s Complicated”!
Lucky for me, my job was made easy. The answer to her question was found in the movie.