Being Your Parents Wingman
I think many children of divorce can relate that you do things a little differently in your family. You interact in quite a different manner then your friends whose parents are happily still together. There is the whole matter of splitting holidays, family dynamics shifting, and of course, giving your parents dating tips. Wait...what? That's right folks. When you're parents get divorced you get the charming job of offering them dating advice. I used to find this weird. The thought of seeing my parents with anyone but each other brought tears to my eyes. They should be with each other I'd think to myself. Those feeling soon changed. Let me pause and state that I'm pretty lucky. In terms of divorce, my family won the "divorce" lottery. And before you get sassy and think to yourself, "Wouldn't you rather have your parents together?" I'd say, yeah when it first happened, of course. I have no idea what my parents thought of each other during their "conscious uncoupling" because they kept things civil. So civil it was weird. Like everyone would be in the same room smiling but it didn't reach their eyes kind-of-thing. Anyway, many years have passed since, and my parents are not only civil towards each other, they are friends. Like actual friends. As in, they like each other. Heck, they make funny jokes about how they used to be married, and they genuinely enjoy each others company. They respect the hell out of each other. So sure, they're not "together" but I don't think there is lack of love in my family or even for each other. And that's really special. It's also made break-ups hard for me because I always assume that people will want to be friends. But that's perhaps another blog post entirely. What was I saying? Oh yes! My parents are awesome? Oh wait!Dating. Dating advice. I don't know if it's a "divorced parent" thing. Or a "my family" thing but we're pretty open in my immediate family. This was made very clear when my parents started dating other people and they asked my brother and I for advice. It makes sense from a logical point of view. Technically, we hadbeen in the dating pool more recently. We were also already privy to their private lives. And finally, I imagine they believed that we would be sensitive to their raw emotional state which, for the most part, we were. And LOOK AT ME NOW writing a blog post about their lives. That's what you get for raising a writer! Huzzza. You created me, mom and dad! Our dating advice, good or bad, was shared between us and not really talked about (until now). I had never thought that this was a weird thing until last summer when I was living in Vancouver and my dad went on a first date. My dad had met a very nice woman and told me the story of how he asked her out. My dad, for the record, has way more game then myself or my brother do. I don't know what his secret is but I'm waiting to find out. Anyway. He went on a date with this charming woman while I sat at home and watched a teen drama on Netflix and ate popcorn. It later occurred to me (as I was involved in my 4th episode of my very good/bad teen drama) that he was out much too late. My father is up with the birds and is in bed at a (really early) reasonable hour. My mind began to whirl. What had happened to him? Was he okay? Was this woman a kidnapper? Oh my god-why did I let him go out so late with this strange woman! I suddenly stopped myself. I put my popcorn bowl down. I looked at my baggy pyjamas and my worried face and was struck with the realization that this is what parenthood must feel like.I was worried if his date wasn't going well. Worried that this woman had murdered my dad. And just as I was imagining all sorts of horrible things, I heard his keys jingle in the door. My dad walked in smiling at me like a guilty teenager. "It's awfully late, Dad" I mock scolded him. Then in this strange "Freaky Friday" moment, he sat down with me and we talked about his night.We dissected his coffee date and talked about the possible meanings of what was said and their mutual hopes for a second date. It was at that moment I realized that yes, my parents and I might have a slightly strange relationship. And yes, I probably shouldn't worry about my sixty-something year old father on a first date. But at least we care. *Care in a strange I know too much about your life kind of way. But also in a I-would-do-anything-for-you type of way. Seeing my parents getting "out there" made me realize that putting yourself out there is scary and important at any age. And no matter how old we get, we all still feel a bit funny before a first date. So yeah, at times, I've been my parents wingman and it's been slightly strange. But maybe that's what happens when your family gets over their empty nest syndrome. You become your parents wingman. P.s My dad and this woman are still good friends. He is currently looking for the love of his life. How about you? Have you ever been in a similar position? If so, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you. X.O. LJB
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