Forgive & Forget

December 11, 2007
Living in America, I know that divorce is fairly common. In fact, I know some kids are happier living with divorced parents. They enjoy being able to spend time separately with each parent. Most of these kids have had a pretty happy life, though, despite having divorced parents. Fortunately for them, their mom and dad might even get along – maybe not completely comfortably, but well enough. My life hasn’t been this way, but because of this, I believe that the best trait a person can have is to be able to forgive and forget.

Thanks to a close relationship with my mom, I’ve always been able to talk about things with her that I haven’t been able to share with my dad. And, she’s told me things about her marriage to my dad that she hasn’t told other people, like my sister. Recently, we had a discussion about why her marriage to my dad failed. That might seem like a strange topic, but it really isn’t. I’ve never been able to completely understand my dad, but I’ve come to the conclusion that he resents the closeness I have with my mom, that he and I will probably never have. I think that by understanding why he dislikes my mom, I can understand why he and I aren’t as close as he might like.

That discussion marked a change in my understanding and interpretation of the relationship between my mom and my dad. I learned just how unhappy my mom had been when she was married to my dad, mostly because they had rushed into marriage a little faster than they should have. As her marriage was falling apart, she met someone new – a man who would later become my stepfather. My dad had known him as a coworker and their opinions always seemed to clash. For this reason, he became even angrier at my mom: he felt that if she hadn’t met this other man, they might have been able to make things work between them. It was only adding insult to injury that he knew and disliked my future stepfather.

All this happened when I was only about four, but it seems as if my dad has never really gotten over his anger. I’ve felt it especially throughout my teen years – the mere mention of “going to Mom’s house” or the tossing out of my stepfather’s name will change the mood of the room dramatically. My dad and stepmother will change the topic or look away. I used to think that maybe I said something wrong, but now I know that my dad has just not been able to grasp that most important concept: that of being able to forgive and forget.

That resentment definitely impacted my sister and me. We now enjoy being with my mom because she can appreciate the time she spends with us, rather than wasting time expressing hatred over offenses that happened over ten years ago. Kids shouldn’t have to deal with that; they shouldn’t have to know that their parents essentially hate each other. I believe in the ability to forgive and forget, especially for the peace of mind of those who had nothing to do with the argument in the first place.

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