My dad dating my mother law
Mom begins yelling—a new habit since she and Dad split—about how I was never on her side. After thinking I'd finally reached a plateau of forgiveness, I'm right back to where I started, as angry as I've been time and again in the months before. "Donna, this is my middle daughter, Brooke." We say hello. I want her to ask me about my writing or my recent trip to Africa, but she doesn't.She says Dad could do anything he wanted and she was persecuted for every decision she made. Grieving in circles this way keeps you from moving on. Like me, I think, and for some reason that notion comforts me. Then I make a joke about her brother's teeth, and Mom takes it personally.
I can say that now without feeling embarrassed or weak. I had a great job, close friends, a relationship—all of the things that should make you feel rooted.I'd never again find my parents standing side by side on the porch, waving to me as I pulled into the driveway. Parents expect us to shrug off their split, as if the breakup of our family should no longer concern us because pieces of our adult life are in place. I told him about an article I'd read about divorcées contracting sexually transmitted diseases—one of our more awkward conversations.Looking back, it seemed as if Mom and Dad had been faking it—which cheapened all my childhood memories. I've come to envy young children going through a divorce. Mom expected me to talk negatively about Dad with her. Ten minutes later the phone would ring, and it would be Dad. On the stereo in my dad's studio apartment is a photograph of me and my sisters in the same battered silver frame it was in when it was in our living room.You never want to hear it, Brooke, but your father, your perfect father, wants to screw me out of everything." Then she started crying.Dismantling a family is hardly a linear process, and grieving isn't either. An adult child has known her parents only with each other.