Discovering Beauty in the Ruins

What I learned from my mom and dad’s divorce

Dear Mom and Dad,

It's been 10 years since your divorce finalized, 18 years since your final separation. I have a family of my own now and am a very different person than the 14-year-old who sat silent out on the golf course the night you finally left, Dad.

I never had much to say then, or for many years following—not much except the one-line zingers that I occasionally spurted out awkwardly, red-faced, heart-racing at you, Dad. The impetus for your multiple separations and ultimate divorce are in many ways cut and dry. Frankly, Dad, for so long, I hated you. You could never stay faithful to Mom. You always wandered, always found gratification elsewhere. And somehow you thought your relationships with us kids could stay the same, regardless of what your relationship with Mom looked like. But none of us could compartmentalize like you could. Nor did we want to.

But as I ventured into adulthood, I began to realize that I didn't just hate you; I also loved you and longed for a relationship with you too.

I hated you for the pain you caused Mom. That was the flag I carried and what kept me distant and silent over the countless once-a-week dinners you and I shared when I was in high school. But as I ventured into adulthood, I began to realize that I didn't just hate you; I also loved you and longed for a relationship with you too. I see you more fully now—as a broken man trying to do right with what you have left, working to become a better, faithful husband and father to your second family. My disdain has finally worn and left room for a desire for you to succeed, and for you still to be my dad.

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May 25

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