Yesterday we heard about another family changing its configuration. The kids were sad for the kids over there, having been through this themselves.
Of course, we never know what goes on behind the doors of someone else’s relationship. We don’t know about the late-night arguments or the loneliness or the exquisite boredom.
We were driving home from school and it was humid and Eliana in particular lamented the changes for the other children. Yes, I told her, but if half of all marriages in America end, then this shouldn’t be surprising, right?
Except kids don’t know statistics. And just because the numbers point in one direction doesn’t mean we have to fulfill them.
Relationships are like puzzles. Who knows how the pieces fit together until you spend time with all the pieces spread out on the kitchen table in bright light and really focus on what fits where.
It’s only toward the end that you realize a piece was missing. You look under the table, you look in the box, you look in the other room or in the garbage, but you just can’t find it anywhere.
So the picture is almost perfect. All the pieces click in where they are supposed to except for the last one, leaving a little gap, an empty space that will always be there.
Isn’t it a perfect metaphor?
But relationships are choices, too. We choose to stay and we choose to leave. We choose to be happy and we choose to be pissed off.
We choose to love another. Even more importantly, we choose to love ourselves.
Oddly, last night my 8-year-old was super-tired and started on a conversation I’d never heard from him before. Only a few people at school really care about me, he said.
I have no idea where that came from other than the depths of exhaustion. I held him close and calmed him down and said, so many people love you. But do you know who the most important is to love you?
I pointed to his chest. You. You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.
Isn’t that the damn truth? Perhaps that’s the missing piece after all.