Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Full Disclosure


When we were 19, one of my closest girlfriends was helping her parents clean out a dresser and came upon a wedding photo of a bride and groom, the bride was her mother, the groom was not her father. Shocked and confused, she asked her mom about it. Her mom said, “It didn’t matter.” It didn’t matter until right then when her daughter’s world was turned on its side for a while as she reorganized her understanding of her family.

Another girlfriend confided recently that she felt like she had already waited too long to tell her elementary school aged kids about her previous marriage. She knew she was going to tell them eventually and was worried that it would be hard for them to hear it now that they had friends whose parents were getting divorced.

I have two previous marriages behind me. I took the experience of my gals into consideration. I discussed it with Jeff. We decided the time had come for me to talk to Bob about it before the news could be interpreted as a secret being kept and revealed.

“Babba? Come sit down for a minute.”

“Okay… Did someone die?’

“No. Why would you ask that?”

“Are we having a talk?”

“Yes, but it’s not about anyone dying.”

“Okay.”

“So Bob, sometimes when people get married the two people decide that it’s not a good fit and they get unmarried. It’s called a divorce.”

“I’m going to marry Daisy and Pearl.”

“When you’re old enough and you and the dog and the cat all decide to get married, we can discuss it. So what I want to tell you is that before I met Daddy I was married and unmarried - divorced, two times.”

“Did those guys die?”

“No they didn’t die. No one died. They are both good guys but not good matches for me so we were unmarried. Then I met Daddy. We are a good match and we are a family.”

“And you and daddy are staying married?”

“We are staying married. I just wanted you to know about my other marriages. Do you have any questions?”

“Yeah.”

“Sure honey, what is it?”

“Do you know I was kidding when I said I was going to marry Daisy and Pearl?”

“Good to know.”

19 comments:

  1. His reaction was classic. I have a friend who learned about a parent's prior marriage (and children) when they were in their mid-forties. Talk about stunned.

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  2. You have a smart kid. Just be prepared for the event of Bob telling in school that his mom is married to a lot of people :D

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  3. Brave soul. That's what you are. Bob's brain is like a pachinko machine. Can't wait to hear if it ends here or if moves right on to the next topic of delight. I'm guessing the latter but sfabrications has a point.

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  4. Love this conversation. Very astute and honest of you, parenting-wise, and very interesting to me, reading-wise. I wish my "unmarrying" had occurred in a marriage before I had children who could be affected by it, but then I guess I wouldn't have my children if that were the case, so can't really wish that. As always, Bob is a doll.

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  5. Oh, gosh...you made my heart pound.

    We still haven't gone down this road yet.

    I haven't decided what to do.

    You were smart...to do it so early.

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  6. At 3, Bob's already defusing intense situations with a little sense of humor. Amazing!
    And you are stunning in that picture!

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  7. At 3, Bob is already defusing intense situations with humor. Amazing!

    And you are stunning in that picture!

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  8. You are such a great Mom. Bob is lucky. And awesome. (I can't comment on your blog without professing my love for Bob.)

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  9. You are very wise and I am inspired. *gulp*

    XO

    A.

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  10. When my older son was 7 and sitting on my lap, he informed me he was going to have a dog named Bob and a cat named Fred. They were going to cook and clean for him.

    Then he laughed so hard he peed on me.

    Bob's an amazing kid. He must take after his mother.

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  11. My sister and I were told about our Dad's first marriage when we were in our 20's. I could not believe my mom kept that secret for so long. I asked my mom if this meant no more train around the Christmas tree?

    My mom answered, "We haven't had trains around the tree since you were 11."

    Oh.

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  12. I do suggest you tell Bob this story a few more times. I don't remember being 3 much less important conversations I might have had.

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  13. Oh yes, Suzy. This was just the opener...
    Can you imagine? "Hey but I told you about that when you were three, don't you remember?"

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  14. My mother's father was married before he married my grandmother. He had a son named Milton who was my mother's half-brother. We found out about this around 10 years ago when my mother was 77. My grandfather died before I was born. I asked my mother if she knew Milton and she said "Of course." Then I asked her what happened to Milton. She said, "He must have died. He was a lot older than me." When I asked her why she never told us, she said, "What difference does it make? You didn't know them anyway!"

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  15. I'm glad you told Bob. And I'm glad you found Jeff, your good match, without whom there would be no Bob. Mostly I'm glad Jeff and Bob have you because all together you make one extraordinary family. xoxo

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  16. I'm so amazed by your openness :) That's fantastic! It'll only inspire him to be equally honest with you.

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  17. You are a good lady and a good mom.

    I always wondered how my mom would explain to my brothers that I have a different dad, but she is one of those people who just says stuff like it's nothing and doesn't make a big deal out of it and before I knew it they totally knew who he was and his name and would ask me if we could go to NYC to visit him. (And the answer is no, no we cannot.)

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  18. I tell you, I LOVE this kid.

    I love you too, I guess...

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