My parents separated five years ago. Less than two months later, they divorced, making a quick, though not-so-clean, break from their 18-year marriage. One year later, they started going on dates. Only not with new people, but with each other... and no one else. So how did my divorced parents find themselves in an exclusive relationship, again? I'd like to think I had something to do with it.
Not too long after the messy separation, I found myself sitting across from my father in front of a hot bowl of curry. It was just like any of our other weekly dinners. Only this time, things were different. He had his hands, then dry and cracked from the frigid season, buried in his peppered hair as he asked me if he should ask my mother on a date. "Do you think she'll say yes? " he questioned.
While their divorce was harsh, it wasn't irrevocable. So, being the meddler that I am, I said she would.
"Of course she would," I guaranteed.
And so they began dating. At first, my mom was hesitant. They would see each other sporadically for mundane chores, but soon, it all became much more. Dinner and movie dates turned into weekends biking on the beach. Trips to Delaware to visit my brother at college turned into week-long vacations in Aruba and Greece. And so on, and so forth, until "sleepovers at dad's" became my mom's new Friday night ritual.
The funny thing is, they -- and shockingly, I -- act as if everything is normal. As nosy and troublesome as I am, I never ask the status of their relationship. Not only because they seem truly happy, but also because I don't really want to know all the details. However, I do become... jealous, especially when conversations like this occur:
Mom: Hi, Anna
Me: So, what are you doing tonight?
Mom: Having dinner with dad, I'm staying over
Me: I thought I was having dinner with dad tonight
Mom: Ask Dad
Dad: Hi, hun
Me: So, you double-booked me, huh?
Ultimately, I am happy for them. I am happy for the innocent way in which they hold hands, kiss each other hello, and flirt at the dinner table. I love that we can have a family outing without the bitterness that exists among so many homes (married parents, or not). Will they move in together again? Will they get remarried? I don't know, and I don't ask. Because truthfully, I don't think they know the answer either (and maybe it doesn't matter).
Watching my parents begin a new relationship in front of my eyes has been the most fascinating experience I've had in my adult life. As perplexing and rare as the situation is, I appreciate their willingness to break the mold and live without the pressures of structure.
At the very least, holidays at this modern family's house are never short of entertainment.
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