ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Since this post will not be of much interest to most people, humor me for a spell.

My mother married and subsequently divorced three times. And during my formative years, I was there for all of that dizzying marital discord gone full-blown marital combat.

I’m not whining, so hear me out.

Each and every time my mom divorced her husbands, I felt nothing but blessed relief. I’m still on record (Google News Archives) as a toddler saying, “I want to go to grandma’s” when the prolonged kidnapping debacle finally ended in a Florida courtroom.

When she divorced in 1971, culminating in our hurried resettlement to Wilkes-Barre with nothing more than the clothes on our backs and my Matchbox collection, I knew both the physical beatings and the mental anguish were in the rear-view mirror. A long overdue sigh of relief, if you will.

And when the final marital go-round turned into a mess when I was a teenager, I was then old enough and large enough to dish out the pain, rather than have any of us receive any more of it. I’m not proud of some of what I did, but both my brother and my sister idolized me for having done it.

While I carry some mental marring as well as the physical scars of that bygone segment of my life, one thing stands out in my memory: Divorce always led to a period of relief, readjustment and later happiness, brief as it may have been.

I’ve been married to a woman for, uh, we’re but days away from 34 years. In my spinning mind, despite my many warts and scars, I have provided for my three children the ultimate in stability and predictability. Daddy works and works some more. Mommy nurtures, coddles and occasionally freaks out.

It worked for me. It seemed to work for Wifey. And our three kids definitely had a much better go of childhood than either one of us had had before them. And it is and always has been for that reason, that model of stability and predictability, that I always pictured my kids and then their kids living life happily thereafter.

But, as fate would have it, we’re not all Mike Brady, nor are we all Donna Reed clones. As fate would have it, a common law “divorce” has not brought relief to three of my grandchildren. Quite the opposite has been afoot of late. They are in limbo, and they don’t like it none too much. And neither do I.

To be blunt as all get-out, they are pawns, they are confused, they are conflicted and they are not happy. They have become what I once was, shell-shocked refugees not quite all the way back from the marital combat zone. And if something doesn’t change and change real, real soon, I’m going to do something that some might idolize me for at some later date.

For me, this is simple. And as some of you know full well, I like simplicity.

If you’re supposedly divorced, then move on and get on with your lives. You need as much. I need as much. Wifey needs as much. Your siblings need as much. But most importantly, the vertically-challenged pawns need some relief and soon.

I’ve harkened back to my scattershot upbringing many times over by saying, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

The thing is, I don’t want any of my grandkids repeating that retort if and when they grow up.



1 comment:

Annee said...

Mark, thanks for sharing your life and insights. The fact is, there are, as you mentioned, three little ones, not just one. The way you dealt with the trauma of bad marriages and the resulting divorces is nothing short of reMARKable, no pun intended, pun intended.

In our family, there were four children. The older two having been through two dads/marriages, they had more to deal with than Jane and I. Yet, each of us dealt with severe abuse (very common in our time) and the so-called relief of getting away from the offenders completely differently.

One person is psychotic. One was so neurotic she disappeared within herself and shut out everyone who loved her. One is so aloof it's hard for him to let anyone get close - he's reclusive yet he's a domineering conversationalist and won't let a person get a word in sideways. Then there's me. I'm not sure what any would say about me, but for years I turned to the bottle and disappeared that way - sadly to my own children's loss.

In hindsight of course, it's all crystal clear and I'm much the wiser, stronger, and forgiving for all I've been through. My faith is what sustains me now and for the past nineteen years.

BTW, congratulations to you and Theresa for your long marriage. May you have 34 more!

As I've gotten to know you through your writing, I believe those little grandchildren will be fine. They have a beautiful supportive family surrounding them and they'll come through it. Keep that glass half full.

The greatest lesson I ever learned from my mother that probably saved my relationship with my sons, was never to bad-mouth their dad no matter how mad I was or how much I thought I hated him. While I was biting my tongue and said nothing, he was doing just the opposite. It took every ounce of energy I had not to get into that. Now that they're all grown, it's by living with each of us, knowing us as individuals that they drew their own conclusions just as Ma said they would. Had I sad bad things about him, it just would have caused them to jump on his bandwagon and defend him. Now I often find myself defending him against their unkind remarks about him. Go figure.

It may not mean much to you, but it's what works for me, I'll keep them all in prayer. I do believe it will all work itself out. Have faith and just keep lovin' on those little ones.

Bless you Cousin,