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Archive for the ‘children’ Category


According to a news story I just read, boomers are apparently the new favored children when it comes to divorce these days.  Their break up rates have more than doubled over the last decade and researchers expect that percentage to increase.  Right now one out of 4 divorces is a couple over 50.  To some extent, that’s surprising information.   After-all, you’d think that after so many years of understanding each other’s hot buttons and living through the early career days and the challenges of raising children that it would now be time to rediscover the reasons you fell in love in the first place.

LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.

Image via Wikipedia

From a different angle I think it’s cause for celebration.  Looking at it through a woman’s eyes (why not?), we are not the women our mothers were.  Societal expectations are, thankfully, different.  Career opportunities have expanded over the years for women and a lot of us are financially independent and independently minded.  We’re not looking for men to “take care of us,” but instead, to be friends with us.  Confidantes.  Lovers.  Sounding boards. And if that’s not working anymore, then it’s time to move on.

My parents separated when I was 15 and it was a subject not discussed outside the house.  It was taboo then and it made me feel like our family was the pariah of the neighborhood.  I adopted other families to hang around and fantasize about what a happy family would actually feel like.

One particular favorite couple was my girlfriend’s parents.  After synagogue on Friday night we’d walk back to their house to commence a weekend filled with family activity.  I loved her parents; her father was always flirting with her mother and it seemed to me like he adored the pants off her — literally.  We all read books together in the evening and her parents would engage in actual conversation about those books and even current events of the day.

Many years later when my girlfriend and I were grown and catching up over breakfast one day she said that her mother had “finally divorced her father.”  I was stunned silent, left with a gaping mouth full of bagel and cream cheese.  Shock soon gave way to deep sadness.  WHAT??  My heroes?  My role models?  What happened?  She laughed and said that the “lovey dovey act” was for my benefit and her mother would role play until I went home on Sunday afternoon.  That for years they weren’t getting along and that she’d finally found the courage to say no more.  My friend knew I’d be in shock, but it was time I found out.

That moment marked my rude awakening to the realization that people stayed together for the kids and endured the misery of their lives together until it could be changed.  And it was also the moment I was grateful for my mother’s personal truth of “no more.  This isn’t what I want and so I’m moving on.”

Coming from a broken home I can tell you that it does no favor to the children to live amidst vicious fighting and cold body language.  My parents rarely demonstrated physical affection or pleasure about being in each other’s company.  There was no warm sense of family in our family.  And it certainly taught me at a tender age that marriage was not aspirational.

Somewhat surprisingly, I am married and have pets for children.  We were together 8 years before tying the knot and now married for 26, but I can tell you that if it ever stops working for an extended period of time, neither of us would be interested in staying put.  That’s not to say that marriage isn’t worth working at.  It is and a healthy union requires a lot of work.  From both parties.  But there’s no doubt that I’d rather make it alone and enjoy friends, than suffer through a dead marriage.

So I say kudos to those boomers who find the courage to move on when it’s necessary.  There are much worse things in life than staying married to the wrong person.

What say you about marriage?

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My neighbor was walking the neighborhood this morning with her grown daughter, deep in conversation as they passed by Pogo and me.  We share the daily ritual most days – usually my neighbor is with her husband and dog.  On weekends her daughter joins her.  It seems they use the time to catch up on intimacies from the past week as they lead their independent lives.

“A mother’s treasure is her daughter. “~ Catherine Pulsifer

Watching that close repartee sparked a yearning for the same.  I miss that kind of friendship between mother and daughter, a relationship I never actually experienced.  I’m not sure how you can miss what you never really had, but somehow I do.

“The mother-daughter relationship is the most complex.”  ~Wynonna Judd

My mother was my biggest supporter as a child; she schlepped me to one audition after another as I chased my dream of being on stage.  And after each rejection she comforted my heartbreak by telling me that someday she just knew my time would come.  Just persevere.

And when my heart was breaking from a boy I loved who wouldn’t be mine, it was my mother who helped me recognize that life wasn’t over.  And it was also she who comforted the boys that loved me but weren’t able to win my heart.  She counseled them on the phone and encouraged them to move on.

It was also my mother, and only my mother, who came to my piano recitals, choir performances, plays (as a chorus member), and later – talent shows and performances at college.  She rooted for me in everything I did and felt that I could hang the moon if I wanted to.

“1 mother + 1 daughter = 2 best friends”  author unknown

But she was never my friend.  As I grew older we continued to talk, but we grew farther apart never really learning much about what makes the other tick.  She was consumed with her frustrations and I with a need to offer her ways out of them, though she never heeded any of my suggestions.  She was not a mother who pulled her children close to her, in fact, she looked forward to the days when we’d be out on our own and she could fly solo again.

I have a few women friends who adore their mothers, respect and admire them and spend as much time with them as possible.  I’ve always envied them; I wish I’d known that closeness.

What’s your relationship like with your mother?  And how has it changed over the years?

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