Dad said something about soul mate when we were back for the Christmas holidays. I thought he had a little too much to drink and so did not give much heed to what he was babbling about. He was in a merry mood, that much I know. My sister however was able to pick up all the clues. It turns out that Dad is having another affair. He is already in his sixties. By now, we have all accepted that Dad has an insatiable need for a level of companionship which he unfortunately did not find in my mother. So he finds himself some alternatives. I believe Mom as a women, has such a need too. She however, finds them in her children, grandchildren, friends, family and God. She has many hobbies and they provided some form of distraction. I don’t know if Mom ever felt lonely and needed a soul-mate-like-companion the way Dad does. Although they find each other seriously lacking in terms of being able to meet each other’s emotional needs, they have stuck together all these years. It is not that Dad does not love Mom. He appreciates her for her devotion to the family and her other qualities. He may not love her the way we normally see love but she is a crucial part of his life. She is the anchor in the family. Without her, his life would loose bearing. I suspect both of them knows it even though they might not be conscious of it. Mom is not an unhappy and miserable women. Yes, there have been lots of tears especially in the earlier years of their marriage but she has learned to find her own happiness while staying married to a man who openly confesses that he finds greater emotional satisfaction elsewhere. Despite the pain and craziness of it all, they still watches each others back and cares for each other. They joke and laugh as much as they quarrel and fight. Dad is always the loud, intimidating one of course. There is a lot of disharmony and dysfunction within this union. It can be very disconcerting to witness if you do not understand my family well enough. I can’t blame my sister-in-law entirely for wanting to severe ties with my parents. It takes time to adjust. Love it or hate it, we the children, took it all in our stride. For some strange reason, we still look forward to our yearly reunions, accompanied by some apprehension for the unexpected. At the end of the day, we know this is home. This is family. This is where we can be free to be ourselves, to make mistakes, to be vulnerable and still be accepted.

For all my parent’s failures, they must have done something right.