There was a TV ad in the 90s. A beautiful, happy family sitting in the dimly lit lounge room of their trendy high-rise apartment. City lights flickered outside as this family laughed and smiled and lived the dream.
This was my favourite ad when I was a kid. I think they were advertising carpet? I can’t even remember. But I knew this was right for me. This was the narrative that I wanted my life to follow. Those beautiful people in that beautiful home. Because that’s what makes us happy and valued, right?! When everything looks good.
My favourite part of this ad? There was a dad. He was present and happy and oh so handsome. But mainly? He was there. My dad wasn’t around when I was a kid – he split when I was a baby. So the fact that this happy ad family included a dad? Perfection.
This mid-90s carpet ad became my unspoken goal. A beautiful, happy, trendy family in our beautiful, happy, trendy home. The end of my 17 year marriage did not factor in to that dream. Nor did the pain it would cause my kids – or the fact that I’d find myself single again in my 30s.
Grieving that life was painful. Grieving that beautiful, happy, trendy family and home – it hurt and took time. 18 months after the marriage ended though, there’s new life. Because – my kids? Everything that’s been invested in them over the years has put them in a good position to deal with the ups and downs of this season. Whether it feels like enough at the time or not, kids soak up the good stuff like sponges and store it for the tough days.
The pieces of stability their life has ever held, enable them to stand strong through this. Whatever love is spoken, shown and brought to the table, is held in their hearts and they are ok. Because what I failed to realise was that despite everything that carpet ad might have told my young self? The goal is not beautiful and trendy. The goal isn’t even happy. The goal is love.
The marriage is over. And aspects of that dream, gone. But are they loved? Yes. Are we living the dream? Absolutely.