Star-Shaped Chicken Nuggets

I went to Carl’s Jr (Hardee’s for all you East Coasters) for lunch today. This isn’t a plug or an ad, in fact, it’s sort of the opposite. I went there today to create a new memory with my kids. Honestly, I was trying to replace an old memory. Every time I drive by Carl’s Jr my 4-year-old son reminds me this is where Buppa and Harmony (Grandma and Grandpa) took him to get fries, burgers, and star chicken nuggets. He tells me how much fun he had and how he got to play in the indoor playground. He is beaming with delight when he tells me this, every time.

A couple of months ago my parents decided to get a divorce. The first thing I did like most things when I’m faced with a challenge is to google it. My recent searches include how to not kill your basil plant, cheap DIY home decor and now divorce of parents with adult children. I read over blog posts and articles of people just like me but only a couple years later into their parents’ divorce. I shouldn’t have been surprised by the lack of uplifting and positive advice about divorce. – Because there really isn’t much you can give.

I spent the next few months in all 5 stages of grief. While this isn’t anything like the death of a loved one, it is still the death of a relationship. A broken relationship almost demands grief. The relationship is broken and future memories are lost. Even though I found myself quickly passing through each stage, I wonder now if I should have slowed down. But processing divorce of your parents, while still being a parent to two tiny humans is challenging. So I did what any other mom would do, quickly picked myself up and cared for my kids. I wasn’t the only one who would feel the weight of this separation, my kids would too.

Our world is broken. For some, divorce is all too common in their life. In fact, I would say we might be way too numb toward it these days. Brokenness is all around us. We do live in a world where meat can be shaped like stars. If that’s not broken, then I don’t know what is.

Navigating divorce of your kids’ grandparents is a very fragile process. However, I quickly learned that a newly turned 4-year-old can understand much more than I anticipated. Brokenness can be felt at any age and I’m reminded almost daily of all the memories my kids created with both my parents. Buppa and Harmony are one word to them. It saddens me to know those events won’t become traditions. A trip to Carl’s Jr with both of my parents will not happen again.

My trip to Carl’s Jr was far from special today. In fact, it was sort of a disaster. I accidentally sprayed hand sanitizer in my son’s eye, my 2-year-old daughter burned her mouth on a blazing hot star-shaped chicken nugget and I struggled to get my kids to leave the play gym without getting thoroughly frustrated. And to top it all off, the food was horrible. Not only did my burger taste bad, but I found a short grey hair in it.

Out of frustration, I spoke out loud on our way to the car, “This will probably be the last time we go to Carl’s Jr. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as well as I thought.” “It turned out well when it was just me, Buppa and Harmony. Maybe I can just go with them next time.” my son explained. Frustrated, mad and disappointed I had to remind him again that Buppa and Harmony were not together anymore. He understands, but I know he wishes it wasn’t so.

For some, the divorce of loved ones is something you have to quickly resolve within yourself and move forward. For others, it is occasionally feeling deeply saddened at the sight of Carl’s Jr.

After lunch, we went to a grocery store where I let them pick out a box of graham crackers to eat in the cart. I bought a new hand sanitizer that doesn’t aggressively spray out and we sampled some dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

I can’t fix the brokenness by replacing old memories. I’m thankful that God always has a plan even when I don’t. I’ll let old memories be old memories and move on to enjoy making new memories.

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