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The power of sideburns. And public nudity.

October 28, 2010

I’m sure we’d like to sit around here and talk about death, and it’s certainly easy to wallow in the ruins after the divorce bomb blows your house up. There’s a flipside to all this moroseness, though, and that is remembering the little milestones that helped you realize you were slowly digging yourself out of the crater. I have two favorites.

The first is the scene in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby comes home to find his wife shacked up with his best friend. He confronts her about it while their sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, look on. And after he incredulously asks if she’s asking for a divorce, the boys throw their fists in the air and yell, “YAAAAAY! TWO CHRISTMASES!”

When I first saw that, I was in the divorce’s first throes and walking around with my heart in my mouth. My drug of choice was Broad Comedy, which is great for turning your brain off. I was watching the movie with my laptop perched on my chest, and when I heard that line I closed the lid and stared at the ceiling for a while. Two fucking Christmases.

When I saw that line again on TV a few months later, though, I laughed, because it’s funny. And when I remembered how that line had hit me before, I had a touchstone. A specific, quantifiable control that said, “You’re getting over this.”

The second involves our Sunday Evening Kid Exchange Point. During the year when we lived 200 blocks apart, we chose a meeting place that was about halfway between our apartments. It also happened to be two blocks from the office building where we met, and after she and the kids left I sometimes walked those streets and invented a thousand time machines that took me back to simpler, happier times.

Now, one of our favorite spots is this, which the boys enjoy fully. I like to call it something that rhymes with “Stock Exchange.” Plus, it lets us cityfolk introduce our children to the joys of hanging out at the mall.

I know divorce feels like you’re in a tunnel, and sometimes a light at the end of that tunnel might be an oncoming train. But it might also be a golden shaft of light reflected off a golden shaft.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. anne permalink
    October 29, 2010 9:40 am

    great blog posting today. and so true how in time, some aspects of divorce and co-parenting can suddenly seem funny, with a bittersweet tinge. I haven’t seen the movie you reference but the scene you describe is perfect – although one year ago I would have been in tears.

  2. Ami permalink
    October 30, 2010 3:33 pm

    Oh, I hope Bossy reads this today.

    • LOD permalink*
      October 31, 2010 1:15 pm

      For those who don’t know who Bossy is (and oh, how you should), she’s a ridiculously great blogger who, on Friday, very bravely announced her separation.

  3. November 7, 2010 3:19 pm

    My parents divorced when I was 11. There had been quite a few divorces in their circle of friends in the previous year or two. I had seen kids move to cool apartments with pools! Get new bikes! Go to Disneyland with Dad! I have to admit that I was looking forward to the spoils of two households (I was 11, I didn’t think through the downside as clearly). I immediately asked my dad for a cool 10 speed. He got it. It was over $100 which was a lot of money for a kid’s bike in 75. I did enjoy all sorts of things I never would’ve had if my parents had stayed together. Not just material things, but one on one time, adventure. My step-parents brought good things into my life my parents wouldn’t have tried (skiing, flying a small private plane, a family cabin in the woods). The obvious things sucked, but there were also a tremendous amount of advantages in my life because of my parent’s divorce.

  4. November 10, 2010 2:42 pm

    Goddammit I needed this post this morning. Thanks, man.

  5. Tim permalink
    November 11, 2010 1:04 pm

    Everything works out in the long run – even if we are all dead in the long run. My situation involves lots of flexibility and close cooperation on child care, and on holidays and the attendant presents. I cannot say enough about how much easier it makes things. One location for every holiday – the house where the kids live and we take turns living in while taking care of them.

    NOTE – for the first time my ex asked me to make a dish for this Thanksgiving. No problem for me, but it was easier when all I had to do was provide the wine.

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