Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding happiness

We spent the day with our granddaughter, Rani. Actually, she's Jim's granddaughter, but I've been there since the day she was born, and we love each other, and I'm her Mimi. She lives in Tennessee with her divorced parents. At breakfast she asked me, "Did you know Papa used to be married to Grammy?" I said yes, that I knew it. She'll be 10 in a couple of months and is beginning to notice relationships.

We had such a fun day, went to the park and to see Ice Age at the Rave Theater where she and I giggled and chatted too loudly through the whole thing and got disapproving looks from Papa. When we took her back to her Grammy where she's staying, we were invited in. I haven't spent much time with her, but she seems like a sweet, very intelligent lady, and I think we could be friends. Looking around the living room of the house my Jim built, I thought about what might have been and about endings. I love him, and I love our life together, but lives get so complicated with divorce. I remembered to send Rani's half-sister a birthday gift, and I missed a gathering with my two half-sisters. We lived with their father, not mine. I would like to sit and have coffee with my ex-husband and talk about the years that have passed. We fell madly in love at 14, as in love as you can fall at 14. My son's step-children try to include me in their lives, but it's hard, seeing as how I met them so late.

I'm not exactly sad about any of this, and I wouldn't change things, but I looked up the divorce rate in the US, and it's around 48% for first marriages. Does divorce mean we failed? Or are we a society who has learned to cut our losses and go on? I guess I'd like to have it all, for first loves to go on forever but for people to have the freedom to grow. "There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys; there's only you and me, and we just disagree." Maybe the bigamists in Utah have tried to do this, but from what I've seen, it's done from a patriarchal perspective that gives all the freedom to men and makes women into concubines. And so, the rest of us continue to try to find lasting happiness, each in our own way, without making too many others too unhappy.

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