After years of being together in December of 2009, my dad asked my mom for a divorce. (It was official a few years later, but it dawned on me recently that it will ten years to the day this December. )
I was visiting Florida from NY. They were living in a cute townhouse in a small city in Florida called Tamarac. At this point, I had intellectually realized my birth was not a problem, but fundamentally I still suffered through people pleasing.
My trauma came from remembering them yelling up a flight of stairs as a kid. I came down a totally different flight of stairs to see my mother’s face as she heard my dad over the phone share this news. She tried to shield me from it, but I perfected the art of reading faces, energy and tone.
I knew something was off. I did not in fact perfect anything, but when you’ve been doing something long enough, you believe you are an expert at skirting problems. It would be one of the first times I had ever spent the holidays without my dad.
This is not a story about my parents. They both experienced a lot and are incredible friends, confidants and role models in my life for various reasons.
This is a story about how devastated I was for not living up to what I thought was my role in the family: an anchor. I am not an anchor, not for others anyway and others can’t be that for me in all ways. While that time of year could have cemented a devastating blow to my incredibly fond memories of Christmas time and family, it served as an opportunity to mourn the loss of my imagination.
Something my mom would share with me years prior about another topic. You have to create your own memories.