Last night I watched the much awaited season-ender of Mad Men, and I relished every one of the 48 or so minutes of this show set in 1963. While all of the cigarette-smoking cast who sip brown liquid all day long kept in 1960s character, one scene was especially poignant to me.
That was when Don and Betty Draper decide to divorce, and have to have that dreaded family meeting to tell their cute little kids what is going on. This scene was written beautifully, with the older of the kids, the girl, storming off in a whirl of rage, disappointment and fear. The little boy clinging with his legs wrapped around dad, hoping to keep him from moving out of the house to that hotel struck hard at the heart of this scene. Sadly, it’s been replayed millions of times across the ages between any family that’s ever experienced the trauma of divorce.
I thought about that time in 1990 when I too, had one of those discussions, and we had to tell my little cherubs that I too, was moving out and that our family would be splitting in two. Though I was faithful to my end of the bargain, supporting my kids and never wavering in holding up my end of the deal, it’s a tough thing to do, and no one doesn’t feel guilty about it. Today I am happy to report that we all survived, and despite the financial challenge, I never regret what it cost.