I’ve been watching Mad Men a great deal lately.
I like it for the sap, the storyline, and the amazing clothes.
The men in my house like it for Christina Hendricks’ boobs. And maybe I do too a little.
Several episodes I’ve recently watched have made use or mention of the phrase “broken family” or “broken home.”
And I get it. It’s a phrase. People use it. I can even see how it applies a bit. I get the imagery.
“What God hath joined together let no man tear asunder,” or something to that effect.
Well, great. I’m happy that people have a picturesque tableau in their minds and all that.
But guess what, people? Fairy tales are shit. Cinderella’s feet probably got sweaty and fogged up in those glass slippers (I had a teacher in seventh grade who wore clear pageant shoes all the time and her feet did that), and I bet Prince Charming spilled his chamberpot a time or two. And ‘happily ever after’ could totally mean that Cinderella walked away with a tidy divorce settlement and lived independently off her alimony.
I’m not saying people never last forever.
People stay together through thick and thin and wrong and right. Stubborn people. People who don’t say going in, “if you do x, y, and z, I’m done. DONE.”
In my experience, those are exactly the things that end up happening.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying let someone hit you or hurt you or tell you you’re worthless. Please don’t do that. Please.
What I’m saying is that just because people have a fairy tale picture in their minds as some sort of abstract goal, nothing – NOTHING – backs that up as being true.
I had a pretty wedding. Friends cheered me on and family ate cake.
But it was makeup on a bunch of acne scars, and…well, shit happens.
The next time I was married because I wanted more than anything to be connected to one person – this person – forever.
And I have been. Will be. Through it all.
Our family is strange. It’s true. I watch tv every night with the love of my life and one of my best friends, who also happens to be the father of 2/3 of my children. They talk about football. We all laugh and hug and kiss all the kids.
My kids run down the driveway every day to catch the bus with no clue that people think our home is “broken.”
Lucy, Max, and Ava don’t love each other half way. That shit is full on.
Our situation is rare but it’s not broken. It’s exactly the opposite. We are each better because of the way we choose to live.
Max throws the football with Josh, plays chess with Dan (who actually has enough patience for it).
Ava paints nails with me, plays ball with the boys, shares her old clothes with the baby.
Lucy steals iPhones out of pockets indiscriminately, and we all turn on Yo Gabba Gabba or play peekaboo at least once a day.
Give and take. Live and learn. We pick up shoes and we do dishes and we cook meals. We bicker and fight and annoy the shit out of each other all in turn.
And we do it not to fix something that’s been destroyed, not to put a mask on something that’s completely false…
We do it because we are the whole. We aren’t a broken family, a blended family, or anything like that.
We’re a family.