This I Believe

Katrina - New Stanton, Pennsylvania
Entered on July 18, 2007

Many people might extol the virtues of simplicity, but I believe in complications. Complications make us strong and carry us down paths that we otherwise would never venture down. Complications make life interesting.

My life has been complicated for as long as I can remember. The first complication I recall is having to explain to my friends, whose parents were all still married, that I didn’t have a dad. They (rightfully) said we all had to have dads, so I must be lying. Obviously, the differences in our definitions of “have” and “dad” complicated the conversation.

Things got more complicated as I grew up. I complicated my life when I fell in love far too young and decided that 18 was the right age to get married. Six months later, a complication in the form of an unintended pregnancy happened. And then the complications really started. A near miscarriage three months into the pregnancy, gestational diabetes, premature labor, bed rest.

A couple of years after that, I decided my marriage was too complicated, so I filed for divorce. A whole other set of complications then arose. Who gets the house? The car? Custody? How would I support myself, being a single mother who had dropped out of college to have and raise her baby? But those complications pushed me to do what I had to do. I went back to college while working, and eventually on to graduate school. I complicated my life further by pursuing a Ph.D. while trying to balance a second marriage, the child from my first marriage, and a disabled mother. I got through with just one casualty.

Now, my second divorce is a year old. My baby is 14. Talk about complications! Try explaining to your 14 year old daughter why it’s okay for you to date someone who is 16 years older than you but she can’t go on a date with a 16 year old. Or why her curfew is 11 if it’s not a school night, but mom can stay out until 3 regardless of the day of the week. Complicated is trying to explain to her why it’s inappropriate for me to get my boyfriend involved in her life both because of the newness of the relationship and because of the complications of it.

Sometimes, when my daughter gets a certain look on her face, I ask her what is wrong. She sighs, rolls her eyes and says, “You wouldn’t understand. It’s complicated.” I smile and nod and think to myself, “Enjoy it.”