Blink 182 “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” album, 2001. Man. Those songs got me through some serious crap during the most emotionally vulnerable period of my life. But there’s something ironic about one of my favorite songs in history, Stay Together for the Kids. Growing up my mom was single, and she was happy being alone. My dad and stepmom were together since pretty much day 1 of my existence. I would go to my dad’s every other weekend for many years. I was a sensitive and quiet child. I missed my mama. My dad and stepmom would spoil me with all the gifts I could possibly imagine, they always one-upped my mom when it came to tangible crap. It was hard to appreciate anything when you could have everything you wanted. My friends were jealous, ha. Little did they know.
My assumption is that my parents were always trying to overcompensate and make up for…. what exactly? Oh yes, the fighting. I stopped wanting to go my dad’s house. When I was old enough to have friends over/sleepovers, I would beg- BEG my dad and Brenda (my stepmom) to please not fight in front of my friends. It was humiliating. Every single time, they promised. And every single time they almost immediately broke their promise. The fighting would get worse over the years, there was usually alcohol involved… and when I was 15 I went full-blown emo on their asses. Music was my escape, my medicine. Stay Together for the Kids rang so true for me because it involved struggling adolescents that want love and happiness from their parents. Only I didn’t want mine together. I would pray for them to separate. Pray for them to divorce and move on from each other. I told Brenda numerous times that if they divorced I would promise to always stay in her life. Nothing changed. It was too convenient to stay married, apparently, and at my expense. My father died at 58 from a heart attack. Together as the toxic couple they were, I truly believe they were killing each other.
Flash forward to my own marriage. I’m 100% sure I’m married to the love of my life. If I divorced Tim, I could never see myself remarrying. But when it comes to us, I despise even the mentioning of the “D word”. However, we’re currently separated and living in separate homes. It freaking sucks. You know what else sucks? Being an adult. The first few years of marriage and the first few years of parenting. It’s all so hard and simultaneously amazing. The joy is overwhelming, the stress is overwhelming. During this time away from my husband, we are focusing on strengthening our relationship with Christ, seeking marriage counseling, and taking proactive steps to improve ourselves individually. I KNOW, based on the experiences from my childhood, that I will never let my babies have to go through what I went through. And I’m learning that my marriage is not my father’s marriage. I can’t expect my life to be what I grew up with. We love our babies more than anything in this world, but we aren’t staying together for the kids. We’re staying together because we made a vow to love as The Lord loves us, until death do us part. We’re staying together because we choose to focus on our blessings, and not our hardships. Sometimes two people have to fall apart to fully realize how much they need one another.