This morning [2013-06-19] there was a story in the paper about a divorced couple who chose to live under one roof, with locked doors between them. The kids spent a week on one side with Dad, and the other week on the other side with Mom. I know of divorced parents who chose to live under one roof, without locked doors, though he also kept a place downtown. Being a lawyer he could afford that, I suppose. But the important thing is that they worked things out (rather than screaming at each other, dragging things through the courts, and even letting things be handled by their version of the Family Responsibility Office, which ‘enforces child and domestic support orders and collects support payments for families’). They fostered care and respect–dare I say even love?–for each other and for the next generation, their children.
Now, she didn’t learn to work things out when things fall apart from her parents, who stayed married. She says she learned it from mine, who didn’t stayed married. My parents didn’t continue living under one roof but they did have amazing, inspiring lives and were better people and better parents for it. My ex and I, as we negotiated a separation, considered living under one roof, or in neighbouring houses, but that didn’t happen. I had a lot to learn (or unlearn, depending on your perspective), leading to quite a ride, a ride that’s not over. Since then, we each have had our journeys. We have worked things out, though, and not just for the sake of the kids. Like the divorced couple in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, we really like each other. We just can’t live together. In a way, things didn’t fall apart. Things fell together.
What’s that got to do with The Spark? Kristine (author) and Michael aren’t divorced. But their son, like our son, has an autism spectrum disorder and goes to university. Sometimes you don’t have to live under the same roof to share the same journey, a journey ‘about the power of hope and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open.'(x)