Thursday, April 3, 2014
It is no secret that I absolutely love Disney. It is safe to say I am obsessed. Visit my house, and you are basically visiting a Disney gift shop...dinnerware, party ware, couch pillows, quilts, snow globes, picture frames, toys, movies, posters, art...you name it, I have it. Sadly, there is one Disney movie which does not make the cut, and I had to remove it from my vast Disney collection. I actually had to removed both versions of it. And the forbidden film is...
THE PARENT TRAP!
Good grief, I hate that movie. I remember the first time I saw the Haley Mills version of the movie when I was in elementary school. I loved it. Of course, at that time in my life, the concept of divorce was completely foreign. In my circle of friends and family, everyone had a dad, a mom, siblings, and a pet of some kind. Growing up in a traditional, conservative Baptist church in the 80s and 90s, divorce was rarely discussed. So, watching The Parent Trap was just watching a fun movie filmed with pranks, silly songs, and a happy ending.
A couple of years ago, we watched both versions of The Parent Trap before our big Disney World trip during our Disney appreciation month in homeschool. We watched both films, compared and contrasted, and just enjoyed the Disney magic. At that point, I had no idea the impact those movies had on my children, especially my daughter.
Over the course of the past 15 months, my children have dealt with a lot of change and not so much magic. Until the timing was appropriate, I have stayed away from the dating scene. The kids would spend some time with their Dad and his girlfriend. Initially, these interactions rarely ended well. But, for the past 10 months, they have adjusted to the reality that their Dad is with someone other than their Mom. I have recently started dating, and while this transition has been a positive one for my kids, it is still more change that they are having to deal with. Now that I am dating, something has clicked in my kids' minds...especially Cecely.
Tonight, she told her Dad that now The Parent Trap wouldn't come true. Up until I started dating, Cecely was still holding on to some hope that her Dad and I would be restored. She has told me several times that she really likes the man I am dating. After any time we spend together, she always says that she likes what a good man he is. She even told him "thank you for picking my Mama." I know that she is happy, but she is confused. Both of my kids are struggling with loyalty issues right now. I think they feel conflicted and disloyal to me if they enjoy time with their Dad and his girlfriend and the same for their Dad when they have a good time with me and my guy.
Kids are supposed to have hope and to be able to dream. They are supposed to feel safe. They are supposed to count on their parents to take care of everything, big or small. Children of divorce have all of that taken away from them. Their confidence is shaken. Their normal is obliterated. Their dreams are shattered. Divorce is a four-letter word for adults, but I believe it is one thousand times harder on the children. And, while I still have a soft spot for The Parent Trap, it is absolutely not going to be back in our house for a long time...
Tonight, when I was tucking my kids into bed after having spent time with their Dad, I reminded them that he and I would always love them. I told them once more that their Dad and I would never be back together, because of choices that had been made and hurts that had cut deep. I explained that forgiveness is necessary, but that God is a God of second chances, and I truly believe He has a great future in store for my babies and myself. I also took some time explaining to them that it is ok to like their Dad's girlfriend and my fella...I told them that their Daddy and I would never bring people into our lives that would hurt them. And, I told them that even though divorce is NOT God's plan for families, He can turn a messy family into a different kind of family...still messy, but that's ok. I told them of how my life changed for the better when I was blessed with a step-Dad and an amazing new family. I told them that this did not make me love my biological father any less, but the experience did bring LOTS more people into my life who wanted to love me!
To my married friends, I beg you to protect your marriage. Guard your hearts. Shield your minds. Make sure your priorities are in order. Love your spouse. Cherish your spouse. If you have children, a Biblical marriage is the best gift you can give them. To my single-parent friends I say, keep fighting the good fight. Don't give up. Don't get down. You have been blessed with a season where your children are your top priority (after the Lord, of course). Pour into their hearts and minds. Search out teachable moments. To my step-family friends, I am praying for you. The task you have undertaken is a challenging, overwhelming, and draining one. Lift up your spouse, don't give up on your kids and step-kids. To all of you...praying HUGE blessings on your families!
I hate having to be the one to give my children first-hand lessons that life is not a fairytale. On the flip side, I love being the one to teach them about new hope, new dreams, and new chances!