. . . I learned that raising children is hard, that people are ruined, and that friends die . . . The best people could become completely unhinged or act like total asshats. And no matter how great we looked, everything would pass away, especially the stuff we loved the most and could not live without.
–Anne Lamott, Stitches
At first thought, how depressing. On second thought, how comforting. It’s normal. Big, Bad, Surprising stuff happens. It’s universal. I was oblivious to this until I hit my forties. What kind of sheltered life did I live?
My children will not have my sort of sheltered life. They will be the children of divorce. I struggle with this. But as someone said to me recently: “It’s also not good to grow up without understanding that there is gray in the world. Your children will grow up with a more nuanced understanding of life — and they will be stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate people.”
I think this is called hope.
So far, so good for my little children, who are doing pretty amazingly well during this Bad Divorce. I believe in Anne Lamott’s concept of Stitches — a crazy quilt of stitches holding together a family without perfect, square pieces of fabric. No exact, squared-off corners here.
But so far, holding together three lovely pieces with the same color embroidery thread.
So, better than amazingly well. Thriving. So far. As Lamott writes, “When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.”