It’s Thursday so here we go with the latest from Mama Kat!
I have lots of really big, loud, messy opinions on current events so picking one was hard. I decided to address a subject (and two people) that hits close to home here.
Gosh. Wow. I mean…wow. You’re separating? After over 40 years?
I don’t even know what to say.
You guys weathered a whole lot. Your son was hit by a car. There were the years in Washington when Al was in Congress, then the Senate. That’s no picnic, as I discussed in my letter to Michelle Obama. There was Tipper’s epic snit over the lyrics of “Darling Nikki” and the resulting Parent’s Music Resource Center warning labels that served as a beacon to kids everywhere, showing which albums would have the best music. There were the White House years when you had to play nice with President Bill Clinton even as he was forgetting to play nice with anyone but Monica. Then there was Al losing the Presidential election. Only he didn’t really lose it. He just…lost it. I’m sure that after that there were eight years of staring mutely at the world, wondering what you could have done differently if you’d only had the chance to be the First Couple. Then Al decided to save the world, which won him an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Nobel Prize.
That’s a whole lot of history together and those are only the parts I could see. I don’t know anything about your wedding reception, or Thanksgiving in Tennessee, or your daughter’s first Christmas, or what you watch on tv before bed. Your shared life is a long and probably vital one, with intimacies and idiosyncracies that no one else could possibly know.
So, why walk away from that? What could have happened to make you both feel that, at this point, it’s better to walk the path alone than with the person who was the closest witness to you for so long?
Or was it the shared history that was too much? Is it too hard to look into each other’s faces and see all those memories etched plainly there? Do you remind each other too closely of the disappointments and fears and unfulfilled dreams? Is it too hard to take?
I’ve gotta say that it’s hard to see a couple like you go their separate ways. My marriage is only three years old and I have high hopes (and a ready supply of emotional elbow grease) that it will be a lifer of an institution. I’ve glanced around at couples like you, like my parents, and thought “I can do this”. But maybe now, maybe not? I mean, what happened? Can you tell me something that will make me think “Well, sure that’s unique to them! The travel, the pressures of being leading figures, the scrutiny, that’s what did it!” Something, anything, that sets you apart from ordinary couples like me and my husband who will never find themselves inexorably drawn apart by a desire to save the whole world. Because I want to think that by thinking locally, as locally as my own home, and focusing my energy here, my story will end differently than yours.
Good luck to both of you, wherever life takes you now. I hope you’ll forgive me for being disappointed that it didn’t take you there together.