Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some announcement

The saga of Jon and Kate.

I debated on this post. A lot. The thing is, I feel so strongly about last nights stunt, that I have to blog about it.

I tried to stay above it all and not feed into the papers, and magazines, and E Entertainment channel specials, and pure greed. I really, really did. But, I fell of the wagon. I honestly have not watched the show since the first season. Once it started being all about product placement, free trips, hair transplants, and constant nagging and fighting for the sake of free stuff and money.

Before I get slammed, I know that they love those kids. The kids are well taken care of. What is debatable is what you consider "well taken care of". I wouldn't think the kids were neglected if they wore hand me downs that didn't match. I wouldn't judge any ones parenting if the kids didn't have a huge house, crooked play houses, or countless trips to museums, ski resorts, and amusement parks. When you look back on your life, do you remember and cherish the material possessions or the moments of ease and peace and happiness with your family? I remember making chef boyardee pizzas from a box on Fridays nights with my family. I remember the family vacations where we drive for 7 hours to Michigan to spend time with my grandparents. I remember my parents meeting my aunt or grandparents at the Arbys in Flint (the halfway point) to do vacation drop offs. Sure I also remember finally (after what seemed liked years of begging) waking up Christmas morning to a swatch watch (wow, I'm old), and a Guess sweatshirt, but that isn't a moment played back on the highlight reel.

When it started, it was probably really about the kids. Then, once it all starts rolling in, its pretty easy to justify it all by saying "its for the kids". A huge million dollar home is for the kids? My mom grew up sharing a tiny tiny room with three sisters and she turned out just fine. There were six kids, two adults, and one bathroom. If you can overcome that, you can overcome anything. Really though, is it all for the kids?

They can't say this show didn't change them. It's clear that it did. And while that may have been good in some ways and bad in others, it's reality. They also can't really say that the show and the fame and all that comes with it didn't impact the demise of the marriage. No more than any of us can say how changing one event in our life would shape the rest. That is why I don't ever play the whole "if you could change one part of your life, what would it be game". The answer is obvious for me. Then again, that one change, would change everything else. Life isn't a puzzle that allows you to change out one piece for another. At the end of the day, every action has a consequence. Some good, some not so good.

When TLC teased a special announcement, a quote "decision to bring the family peace." I vowed wouldn't watch. Then I thought, maybe these two finally get it and to me "family peace" meant stopping the show. Stepping away from it all, regrouping, getting help and trying to save a marriage and family. Would it have paid off? I don't know, but I think anyone who takes a vow of marriage and then proceeds to bring child into that union ought to fight with every fiber of their being to make it work. If you can say you tried it all and it didn't work, then who can fault you for that. I don't know that I agree with staying together and living a lie, a union filled with hate, anger, and bitterness, but I know that every kid deserves to have someone fight for them. To step back from it all and put them first. Every child deserves to have someone who will try to write their life story filled with peace and love.

We all experience pain in some form or another. I was picked on at school, and watched my mom fight, and eventually lose a battle to cancer. I have close friends whose parents have divorced, under both civil and not so civil terms. Each persons painful experience is different. No matter how you look at it, pain is pain, and no one can shield children from facing pain and adversity in their life. On the other hand, you can try and contain the damage.

The older girls are 8, and can certainly read. Their friends and classmates can read. And if they have a computer at home, they can access youtube, hulu, and various other sites. That means that they can read that magazine headline "We might split up", or "Jon is a dirt bag", and "Kates is a control freak". Who wants to go to school and be faced with all of that. Who needs more to add to the list of scrutiny that kids already face. And more importantly, who wants to have an on air account of their parents playing he said, she said and announcing the demise of their marriage. I don't know first hand the pain of divorce. I do know from many close to me that it resonates through your life. I can say with great certainty that most don't want to think about those first moments of learning about divorce, and they definitely don't want to be able to watch it over and over again on youtube.

No one stopped to contain that damage. Why didn't anyone think, maybe selling my story to People magazine isn't best for my kids. Why didn't anyone think that perhaps playing the victim might make you feel better, but it only makes your now ex spouse look bad to your children. Who cares who wins, who cares who did what first. What matters is that your kids deserve peace.

I can't and won't say that I know what is best for this family. It may be true that two happy parents living apart is better for them than two unhappy parents living together. However, I can say and will stand behind my stance that announcing your separation, and subsequent divorce for the world to see isn't fair to your kids. Using the separation announcement as a rating play isn't fair or respectable. I won't waiver on that.

I fell off the wagon and watched last night because I was truly hoping that they would announce they were ending the show to try and focus on their family. I am disappointed I watched.

The more I think of it, I realize that maybe my post is just more fuel to the fire. Maybe it feeds into the viscous cycle. And maybe it's none of my business. Then again, they kind of made it my business when they invited me and millions of others to see it all play out.


Lula! said...

This is a beautifully written post. I've never watched a single episode of that show. but you've just written the best "article" I've ever read about it. I'd never even heard of them until they started appearing on People, Entertainment Weekly, and Us Weekly magazine covers. I call them "Jon and Kate Mate and Hate." Honestly, cause that's all I know of them.

But seriously...my heart goes out to those kids.

ManicMandee said...

Amen. I think the whole thing is dreadfully sad!

Emily said...

I feel for those kids!

I can't watch the show anymore, it makes me feel guilty for some reason! ;)

BTW, I'm Baaaaaack! ;)