The difference between a bad break up and a divorce brings with it the exhaustion of legal circumstances, the signatures of paperwork and possible childcare, and even the slight hesitation of finally giving up on the dream life crafted with that one special person.
My parents separated right in the middle of my fifth grade year when I, admittedly like most kids, could not comprehend why it was happening. I don't think I ever thought that it had anything to do with my two younger sisters or me, and my parents always made it very clear that it did not.
Still, I can remember the irrational thought recurring, even up until recently, that because I came from divorce, I'd have to end up divorced. That, despite every good memory I'd have with any part of my family or from a romantic relationship, I'd never fully grasp the weight behind that L-word.
If you asked my mom, she never wanted, planned, or even thought that she'd end up divorced. She grew up exposed to a loving and healthy relationship, and every ounce of her being would leave any onlooker to believe that she'd know exactly how to project that love into her own relationships.
And she did. She does. But that type of love can't always be tethered to romantic relationships.
When I was a kid, I had--and still have--a rockstar, unstoppable, superhero of a mom. I know now that she could not have been that mom without her divorce. Her decision and perseverance as a single mother is a beyond selfless act that best wraps itself around any definition of love I've ever seen.
My mom won't talk badly about her marriage, and she has never once implied that she regrets it. Life may not have turned out exactly the way that she had hoped it would, but undoubtedly, my sisters and I are three very lucky people to have her in our lives.
Despite growing up with divorced parents, I feel practically doubtless when it comes to most things about love. I know not to subject it to romance, that it exists far beyond hand-holding and passionate kisses.
By whatever irony, too, I find my mom to be the best person to go to when I need advice or reassurance or encouragement towards anything romance related. It's something that, although I'm pretty confident about, I still find some insecurity in. She's the best person to ease that insecurity.
Love is sometimes very scary. It's not always set in stone, written clearly between the lines, and it almost always exists in ways we never thought it originally would.
It's risky at its best. it's risky at its worst, and sometimes that's what turns people away from it. I try not to let it turn me away.
Besides, my mom is the one who continues to show me that love is always worth the risk.