But something did. It was the beginning of the real change in our family.
My parents divorced when I was in second grade. I was the oldest of the four "full" siblings. Things were fine for several years. I remember plenty of happy, fun times. But as we got older, things got rougher. Lots of anger. Lots of silence. When there wasn't lots of arguing. Between the adults. Between the kids. Between adults and kids. I'm sure plenty of it had to do with the four of us becoming teenagers, and no one really knew what to do with us.
We grew up. We moved on to college. Things got a little better. Mostly because we weren't on top of each other all of the time. When we were all together, it was a tense, uncomfortable atmosphere. Parents on opposite sides of the room. Kids going between the two. No one really thrilled to be there.
That's when things could have gone one of two ways. As we kids got married, we could have easily moved on, only coming home when we really had to. Or we could have stayed connected. Making it a point to get together at least a couple of times a year.
I think we partially owe my sister for the direction we went. She would get angry if someone missed a family gathering without a good excuse. And when my sister is angry, you know. Not a place any one of us wants to be. So, the parents and siblings got together for family gatherings at least a couple of times a year.
I got married. My brother got married. The ice started to thin. I think (though I've never asked) that when my mom's husband suddenly passed away, so did the anger. I think my parents started to realize that there was no point in grudge holding. When they relaxed, so did we.
My sister got married. And there was the hug goodbye.
And things really started to change.
This past weekend, we were all gathered at my sister's house in Kentucky to celebrate all of the relatives born in March. On Saturday night, one of my brothers, my brother-in-law, my mom, my dad, my stepmom, one of my half-sisters, and I sat and played cards for over two hours. We laughed until our sides hurt. Until we could hardly breath. Not one second of tension.
We've come a long way.
To the point where my parents can enjoy their grandchildren. And their grandchildren can relax and have fun. They have no idea that things could have been very different. That their grandparents let time pass, let their anger and hurt go, and let forgiveness in.
|My niece, happy to be seven!|
|My brother and Cuckoo, having a serious conversation about candy and coloring.|
|Dad and Stepmom, always taking photos.|
|My niece, who shares a birthday with Turken, turned the big 5 years old.|
|That's my mom holding Turken up to see my sister add the candles to his cake. Sorry Mom, it's one of two pictures I got of you this weekend. And you would not want me to post the other one! :)|
|My youngest brother has no problem using his height advantage to beat the boys (Phoenix and two of my nephews).|
|Turken stayed back in order to sneek his shots in.|
|My stepmom had to "save" Cuckoo from the big, mean bull, who is actually scratching an itchy ear on Cuckoo's boot.|
|Ever heard the song "The Princess Who Saved Herself"? My niece is that princess.|
|Taking a walk around my brother's farm.|
|My niece who, according to her mother, is most like me.|
|I got lots more hugs from my nephew!|
Forgiveness is such a beautiful gift.