I am graduating from SLCC soon and have been thinking about how to handle a tricky situation. My mom and dad are divorced. After five years of being away from each other they still can’t get along and I feel as if I’m stuck in the middle. If I see my dad, my mom is jealous. She cries. She wonders what he’s said. My dad is constantly asking me if my mom has a new boyfriend. Sometimes he yells when I tell him what’s happening, so I’ve stopped telling him. I am living with roommates now, which is good, because I don’t have to deal with the “war” so much, but I want to invite both my parents to my graduation and I want to be with both of my parents following graduation. I’d like to do dinner or something. How can I get them both to come? More importantly, how can I get them to enjoy being with me on my big day without biting each other’s head off?
Wanting them both
I won’t kid you. This is a “tricky situation”. You love both of your parents and don’t want them to miss your day, but you don’t want them to be with you if they are yelling and screaming at each other.
Because my parents divorced years ago, I have had a few opportunities to deal with this sort of situation head-on. When I got married I didn’t invite my father to the wedding; when I graduated from college, I invited my father, but we spent an entirely different day in celebration.
Looking at this issue head-on I realize that I have made some improvement in decisions regarding my mom and dad and group situations, but I don’t know if either of these choices was the best.
What would have happened if we’d spent my wedding day together? And graduation? What’s the worst thing that could have happened?
I think the idea of the “worst thing” is what kept me from bringing both of my parents together at the same time. I feared that there would be “feelings.” That, if not yelling, there would be a strange un-comfortableness, sort of like when you’re on a blind date, wanting to escape, but don’t really know how to get away without hurting the other person’s feelings.
I didn’t want to hurt my dad or my mom. I didn’t want to feel awkward, or worry the entire time if one or both of them was going to lose their cool. I just wanted to enjoy myself. It was my day after all.
One thing I didn’t do; I didn’t speak to either of them separately about my feelings. I didn’t ask them for their advice, nor did I ask them a favor. Something like, “I would love to have you and dad with me on my day of graduation. What do you think?”
Feedback, no matter how difficult, would have been easier for me to handle over inviting them both and having a “war” in front of everyone at the restaurant. You may find that the graduation and pictures afterwards isn’t the problem-but the restaurant is-because of the additional time you’d be spending together.
Talk to your parents individually. Get their feedback and then make your decision. Hopefully, they will want a successful graduation day for you. If so, they may be able to push aside their feelings for one day so that you might celebrate yours.