The concept of the Butterfly Effect is captivating, especially for someone like myself who second-guesses his decisions and actions constantly. Fantasizing about what could have been is one of the best defense mechanisms I know.
When most people think about the Butterfly Effect, it is in regards to their own actions.
“If I hadn’t done X, then Y would have happened and I would be at Z stage of my life.”
But I thought that crossed my mind for the first time Friday night was the Butterfly Effect from others’ actions on my life, specifically my parents. After having dinner Friday night with my ‘rents and my girlfriend, I couldn’t help but think about how different my upraising would have been if my home hadn’t been like it was.
In 20 years of being alive, I have never seen my parents fight. Not saying they have never had any disagreements in their relationship, but as far as I could remember, Mom and Dad have always been the perfect couple. But when you grow up with this, it becomes an expectation not a privilege. I got used to this, took it for granted for my 18 years in their house.
The thought of an unstable household is foreign to me; my biggest worry at home was about what we were having for dinner. Hearing stories from friends about divorced parents and splintered homes, I would attempt to sympathize but I can’t relate.
What if my parents hadn’t been this perfect couple?
*~creepy butterfly effect music~* Where would i have grown up? My dad is from New Orleans and my mom is from Houston; would one of them have moved back to where they were from and taken me with them? All of a sudden, I’m attending LSU or Texas instead of UNC (a pretty clear downgrade in my opinion).
What about my little brothers? My littlest brother, Christopher, was born nearly 8 years after I was. Would my parents have stayed together long enough to have him? Would I have just been one of three instead of four? Would my parents have remarried and picked up stepkids on their way? So I could have gained a couple of step-sisters who are living in the same house all of a sudden. This is drastically different from my actual life…..
What about my psyche? How would I have reacted to seeing my mom and dad visibly upset with each other? Do i turn to drugs or violence or something else unsavory?
I can’t say for sure what would have happened if my parents weren’t the people they were obviously; nobody can. But I can say that, as I age and as I realize other people’s home situations, I am thankful.
I am thankful for the support. I am thankful for their concerns they have for me. And most importantly, I’m thankful they were the ones that raised me.