A few weeks ago, she called me. “Is your dad okay?!” she asked in her WHAT THE HELL voice. I was confused. “Yes. I think so. I haven’t talked to him today, but I think he’s okay. I don’t understand.” Explaining further, Mom had been asked by several people how Dad is “dealing” with her upcoming nuptials. A few others had asked if she was inviting her ex-husband to the wedding. “That’s funny, Mom! I’ve been asked, too.”
I had. People I really don’t even know that well had asked me in sympathetic voices, “How’s your Dad doing with your mom getting remarried?” First of all, if he were miserable, I definitely wouldn’t tell you that, but the thing is-he isn’t. Secondly, the conversation was never started with “Congratulations! I’m glad your mom is happy.” I always awkwardly explain that Dad is quite happy. He’s happy with his life, and he’s happy for my mom. If you’re reading this and thinking “Oh, God. I was the one she’s talking about.” you are one of many, and I’m not mad at you. I just thought maybe you’d like to read the way your words sound from our perspective in case you find yourself in a similar situation in the future.
I called Dad. Since inquiring minds really want to know, I had to be sure. I hadn’t even thought about how he was “dealing”. Dad seemed pretty happy. I told him when they got engaged and his reaction was, “Cool.” A few weeks later, he asked, “Wait. She’s not inviting me to the wedding, is she?” anxiety in his voice. “No, Dad. She would never do that to you. She knows you hate weddings.” “PHEW!”, he replied. “Someone asked me if I was going and I was like, ‘God, I hope not.'” Mom and I came by Dad’s house before heading out of town one day to pick up my son whom Dad was babysitting. Dad specifically walked out to the car to thank Mom for not making him come to the wedding. It’s not that he didn’t want her to get married. He just didn’t want to feel obligated to go. Isn’t it funny how even in divorce, my parents feel obligated to be there for eachother? Mom and Dad laughed about Dad potentially walking Mom down the aisle to give Mom away, since he was the one who “took” her last. Mom got to vent about so many people being concerned about Dad, and Dad got to reassure her that he was happy for her, and she couldn’t have given him a better gift than not making him come to the wedding.
At Mom and Robert’s engagement party, I was asked again. “Do you like Robert?” “Are you glad they’re getting married?” “How’s your dad?” If you asked me this, you aren’t the only one. No worries. It is, however, incredibly awkward for me. I feel like I’m having to convince people that my dad is okay. I have to make them believe me when I say that I love Robert and that my dad is actually really happy for my mom. Mom always wanted marriage again. Dad did not. The thing is, even if I hated Robert (which I certainly do not), it really wouldn’t matter. I don’t have to marry him or live with him. If I were a little girl, it might affect me, but as an adult, all that matters is that he makes my mother happy. My mom (and dad) was in an unhealthy marriage for a very long time, and I couldn’t be happier for her to finally get the marriage she deserves. And you know what? My father agrees.
Mom didn’t leave Dad. Dad didn’t leave Mom. They went their separate ways together. They still love eachother in what I can only describe as a sibling sort of way. Neither one of them want to be together, and they might even be annoyed that they have to worry about each other, but they do. It’s pretty impossible to separate them completely as they share a very long history and a child. When either one of my parents are unhappy, I’m unhappy, and when I’m unhappy my parents are unhappy, so they can’t help but care about each other to a certain extent for the sake of their child. You know why? Because they are good parents and good people. They are happy for each other, and if you actually care, you should be happy for them too.
So, little world, I just want to say it right here, loud and clear. I am ECSTATIC that my mom has found the man of her dreams. He is kind and funny and gets her cultural references. He likes to travel and try new things. He makes my mom feel beautiful and loved. He is thoughtful and my son loves him. I am proud to have him join our family, and feel blessed to have the comfort of knowing that Mama has someone else to worry about her. Congratulations, Mom and Robert. I love you both. And thanks, Dad, for being happy for my mother. It makes life so much easier for me.