Thursday, September 22, 2011
On Happy Endings, mid-page
Along with a gaggle of giggly girls who firmly believe in fairytales, princesses, and dreams coming true, I have a sweet little son (who is often a punk, but is just as often a sweetie-poo); who is perhaps the most romantic soul in our family.
Which is why it wasn't a complete surprise when, a few nights ago, he snuggled up against me and asked, after a few minutes of quiet, "Mommy, why couldn't you and Daddy just live happily ever after?"
Now that's a loaded question. One with even more loaded answers.
I blurted out the best answer that popped into my head: "Well, the story's not done yet. Daddy's not in my happily ever after, and I'm not in his, but the good parts of the stories are still coming. And YOU are definitely part of my happily ever after."
It seemed to satisfy him. For now. I'm not naive enough to think that my kids will forever be satisfied with my non-answers about the dissolution of their parents' marriage; however, by the time they are old enough to be relentless they will also be old enough to believe me when I tell them that divorce is about grown-up problems.
Eric's innocent question has stuck with me, though. For him, and for anyone who glances wistfully into the past and wishes that things had stayed the same and hard, sad times hadn't come, here's what else I would have added:
"We're living the middle of the story right now. Before the happily ever after there are lots of grand adventures, heart-thumping terrors, overwhelming obstacles, and side stories that temporarily distract us. In the thick of the action the hero and heroine don't know how it will play out. No one knows the happy ending until, well, the end.
"Sometimes the middle of the story totally sucks. Sometimes the danger is unbelievable, the pain seems never-ending, and any hope for a happy ending is seemingly dashed.
"But that doesn't make the happy ending any less certain. The Author knows the entire story, beginning to end, and there is always, ALWAYS a very happy ending."
One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis (you knew it would be). He said, "There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." True, that.
Chalk that up as one true thing that I know: it always gets better.
Here's to more page-turning adventures on the way to our happily-ever-afters!