Monday, June 7, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp: Picnic {Day Two}

During Creativity Boot Camp, I want to be intentional about sharing the writing that comes from the daily assignments. Perhaps, I'm sharing here because it will hold me accountable to the project. Or maybe I'm trying to recreate the soft space I found and loved so dearly in my college creative writing classes ... a whole group of writers creating, sharing, commenting, pushing each other and themselves toward birthing new ideas and raising them into great forces.
If you've written a post on your blog, please feel free to let me know via comment; I'd love to read/view others' work, but I know I won't be able to look at every post linked to the Creativity Boot Camp site (because there are, like, 500 participants! Wow!). And, no, it's not too late to join. And, yes, you should join.

Picnic, Day Two

My parents divorced when I was only three years old.

I shared this bit of history with a friend just a few days ago and noticed pity immediately reflected in her eyes after she'd asked about my childhood; anxiety laced with guilt visibly spread across her faces as though she thought her question was like a razor accidentally tearing open a tender scar during a routine shaving of the legs, a scar that still hadn't quite healed.

And I realized, in a fleeting, momentary second, that perhaps, there was a little bit of pink scar tissue around a wound I could have sworn had never actually been open and bleeding.

I don't have many memories of the three of us as a family; I can't recall what it's like to have two biological parents living under the same roof, my father kissing my mother upon returning home from work as she's stirring dinner while it cooks over the open flame, a scene my little guys so often witness between John and me.

It's only now that I wonder what it would have been like to have had married parents as I witness life through the eyes of my little boys; as a child, I never longed or ached for my parents' hearts to reconnect, their marriage and relationship to be restored simply because I had absolutely no real concept of living within the context of a nuclear family. Like cookies hidden under the blanket of a picnic basket, you don't spend your whole lunch craving the sweet chocolate morsels because you don't even know that sweetness is there. And at the age of three, you've never had enough of a taste to trigger a desire.

Simply you cannot miss what you've never truly known. But, now, after five years of marriage and two kids, I'm beginning to crave what I've spent 27 years never missing.

I'm not mourning the actual divorce of my mother and father; they were happier as friends, sharing a relationship built on respect and genuine kindness. And this friendship left a lasting impression I often remember, cling to during heated discussions in my own marriage. {I'm also not denying the deep love or care shown to me by my mom or dad; they were both supportive, compassionate and loving toward my sister and me.}

I'm simply mourning the loss of the impact of their marriage on a little person's heart.

There's an underlying stability found in the pillars of a mother and father who stand united. There's a sense of unconditional love that's tattooed on a little person's heart when he watches mom and dad disagree but agree to move on for the sake of love rather than firmly root their opinions in the ground for the sake of having those views rooted. There's a trust built living under the sanctity of vows being carried out day by day during the routine, the mundane and the extraordinary, the exceptional.

If this does something for my heart, a grown woman, being part of a mother and father who are not only married but who are one, who stand together, I can't imagine what it does for a child's. I want my kids to reach for those cookies we've tucked inside the basket, to taste the sweetness of their parent's marriage and crave it one day for themselves, gently and intentionally placing the same sweets in their own little people's picnic lunch.


  1. Oh Hyacynth, this was so beautiful. And the line bolded, I get that. And I am so thankful, and impressed, that your parents were able to stay amicable and united in ways for the sake of family, but honored their differences. That, I'm sure, helped to shape YOU and all of your wonderfulness.
    (and lovely job... I tried SO hard to weave in picnic delicately, instead of it being the entire subject, but to no avail...)

  2. I must admit, my parents relationship messed me up with my first couple relationships, they made it look so easy. Their disagreements were always civil and their love for each other was always evident. They made love look easy, I had to learn the hard way it was work.

  3. This was so touching, and I can definitely relate. My parents also divorced when I was about 3. I went to live with my father when I was 5 and he remarried when I was 8. The woman he married hated children and needless to say my twin sister and I had a rough upbringing from that point on. My biological mother is an alcoholic and I know in my heart that it's a good thing she didn't raise me. I'm somewhat disappointed that I didn't/don't have the loving parents I always wanted, but I'm happy that I can learn from their mistakes and not repeat them in my own life. I'm glad that you were not permanently scarred by your parents divorce either. :)

  4. This was beautifully written. I can relate-my parents divorced when I was 3 so I have no memory of them together. We had a happy childhood despite being juggled between two parents, but I want more for my kids.

  5. My dad was an absentee father and my parents' marriage became the typical "we're staying together for our child", except they didn't do me any favors. It hurt to witness the fights and the eventual dissolution of their marriage.

    So I do understand what you mean by having not had the pleasure of witnessing the kind of relationship a child craves to see in their parents.

    I learned from my own past to look for a relationship that's nothing like my parents' and a man who's nothing like my dad, and I am glad to say that I was successful because here I am.

    And here you are. Both happy in well adjusted relationships. I don't know about you, but it took me awhile to get here. But the fact that I'm here has to count for something right?

  6. Hyacynth, your words are beautiful and oh so true. I was blessed with parents who have been married for over 25 years, inlaws who've been married for over 30 years, and grandparents who've been married for over 50 years...but as I look at the world, I realize it's really an uncommon blessing to have. It makes me want to be more intentional about my marriage and teach my children through by loving my husband in words and in action that marriage is sacred and wonderful and blessed and something to look forward to and to fight for. I want them to desire a beautiful marriage because they see it at home...and I WANT a beautiful marriage too. Thankfully, my marriage is a work in progress and my hubby and I are committed to making it work day in and day out with His help.

    By the way, I finished chapter 3 last night and can't wait to sit down and share my thoughts with you again. Thank you so much for walking this journey towards freedom with me!

  7. This is wonderful, Hyacynth! Really wonderful! And one day we will sit down together and have big talks...big talks!

  8. My parents divorced when I was in the 6th grade. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. My views on marriage now stem around that divorce. Our 12th anniversary is this month.


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