What Goes on Behind Closed Doors?

St Johns Church










Article by Wendy McCance

I have often wondered what goes on behind closed doors.  When I was young and just beginning my adult life, I had this vision of what it would be like to be married and have kids.  Boy was my image of what my life would be like different from how things turned out.  I learned that marriage is not always the fairy tale I had envisioned.  Even more surprising was the difficulty I had in raising my kids.  There were so many significant challenges.

I started dating a guy when I was eighteen who I would marry at age twenty-seven. I had ignored dozens of clues that marrying this person wouldn’t be anything but wonderful.  The short story is that he ended up being a liar, controller, cheater and abuser.  A restraining order and divorce were in my future.

The years of pain that I saw my children go through having a father like that has been horrible.  I love my kids, but I have spent several years riddled with guilt bringing them into this world with the challenges they would have to endure.

As the years went by, some areas of my life improved dramatically.  Better job, better home in a better community and a new husband who is kind, loving and treats the kids as though they are his own have helped to heal some of the wounds.

Two of my three kids were diagnosed with ADD and the struggle of finding the right medicine and the right dosage, struggles with grades and the loneliness they faced trying to find friends that they could relate to and who could relate to them was painful to witness.  This is not the way I saw my life and it is definitely not the way I had hoped my kids would grow up.

All of our cousins, aunts and uncles live out-of-town.  I grew up seeing relatives several times a year, but as an adult, I haven’t seen relatives in over twenty years.  My cousins have had their own children who are now grown and who I have never met.  My kids only know relatives on their dad’s side of the family, but thankfully they know them well and have developed some good relationships with them.

What throws us off track to such an extent?  How did all of my plans as a kid turn out so differently than what I envisioned?

I have lived and I have learned and although I have experienced tragic times in my life, I have also had the pleasure of developing an unusually close bond to my kids.  It is the one thing I could have never predicted, after all, I wasn’t close to my own parents.  It is one of the surprisingly good things that has happened along the way.

When I was growing up, I never had a close relationship with my parents or sibling. Things were bad enough that I almost left my home  my junior year of high school.  As it turned out, the moment I graduated from high school, I moved out on my own and never looked back.

Years later, I have an acceptable relationship with my parents and my sibling, but it is nothing like what I have at home.  I am grateful that besides the fact that I am close to my own kids, they have close, loving relationships with their siblings.

So I wonder about other families.  I wonder about the stay-at-home wives who get to enjoy their kids without stressing about compromising home life for a work life.  I wonder about the close bonds between the kids and the parents.  I think about how the relationship is between the parents themselves.  Does anyone live that fairy tale  life that I had envisioned?

It’s hard to know when I drop off a child of mine at a big, fabulous house of a friend of theirs.  The mom seems pleasant and content in her role.  The kids seem happy and at peace with their life.  But what is really going on behind the scenes?  I know that unless you are in my inner circle, there are many things about our family that are hidden away.  The closest anyone can get to figuring out that life hasn’t been perfect is knowing that I am remarried and that a few years back we lived in a big, fabulous  house as well.

So here I am years later.  I married and divorced.  I had a great paying job for seven years but the cost was seeing my own family seldom.  I lived in the big grand house and then lost it when I lost my job.  Several years were spent struggling with worries about finding enough money for groceries, school supplies and gas for our cars.  I have seen my kids struggle with the hope that they could have a decent relationship with their father.  I have also seen my kids struggle with grades, medication and endless counseling appointments meant to fix broken hearts.

What goes on behind my closed door hasn’t always been picture perfect.  Actually, much of what went on was nightmarish.  Somehow, I have seen the worst, but found the best in life.  I now have the job of my dreams.  I can work from home and put my kids first instead of picking between money or family.  I have a terrific husband and wonderful kids with sweet. caring hearts.  It’s been a long, rough road, but I made it through.  Maybe now I will finally have that storybook life I have always dreamed of.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

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7 thoughts on “What Goes on Behind Closed Doors?

  1. Once again, I relate so much to all you write here Wendy. Like you, all my dreams and ideas of how family life should be went completely pear-shaped and nothing turned out like I had hoped. However, just like you I have an extremely close relationship with all three of my kids, which I think was forged in the fire of our family troubles and with us sticking together through everything and now they have a wonderfully close relationship with each other too.

    I’m so happy that you came through all that you have and that now you can live your life happily and fulfilled and you have the most wonderful gift, despite all the struggles - your children, your husband and the beautiful family life you are now so blessed with. Your hardwork should not be undermined however, you chased your dream and now you are living it. You are my inspiration 🙂

    • Thanks Sherri. It’s wonderful that you have such a close relationship with your kids as well. It is the biggest gift you can receive amid all of the hardships. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  2. I like this, Wendy, and can identify in so many ways in the wondering part. I remember as a kid looking up at the airplanes and wondering where they were going. Or, riding through the neighborhoods at night with my parents and seeing the open doors and lights inside of living rooms and wondering what their home was like.

    There are so many things I could write. It would fill up your comments here but mostly what I’m taking from this on what you’re talking about and want to share, perhaps coming from a different perspective, is this. I felt, as a child, like I was the one on the inside looking out. The people on the outside were the ones, from what I perceived, as having normal lives and making judgments based on what they saw from the outside. I didn’t know how to tell them differently — they had already made up their minds.

    I guess that sounds a little confusing but my childhood was strange compared to other families and households. I knew it by the way people talked, the way they looked at us and peer pressure in school. I learned a lot about my self, love and compassionate as a child just by turning to the voice inside and listening to that. As I got older, I could put more information and understanding to it.

    I think that’s what is hard with our culture here in the US compared to other countries. Appearances are deceiving. In other counties, If there’s poverty or troubled areas you see it and can feel the heartache and despair. In the US, people live in beautiful homes but are only one paycheck away from losing everything. We hide from each other and I don’t know why that is.

    I could probably go on but will get down from my soapbox for now. I love your thoughts and reflections and I don’t think you’re alone. It’s just that maybe not many have had the chance to share and talk about these things in this way.

    Thank you for opening your heart, my friend. You’re an old spirit. Hugs! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy reading what your thoughts are on a given topic. I love your openess and the details you put into your answers.

      What you mentioned reminded me of a few things. When I was dreaming about my first home, I used to wonder why if a person had a house, why didn’t it always look picture perfect from the outside. I never understood that maybe the people who lived in that home might not have the money to take care of it the way they wished to.

      I also remember hearing from a service worker who needed to work on some plumbing in a home. The worker was shocked when they went inside this big, beautiful home and found that only one room on the first floor had any furniture in it (just a sofa and tv). The people had lived there for years and as he found out, they were barely getting by. It was so important for them to look like they had it all from the outside that they didn’t have the money to furnish the inside.

      • I think you’re right, Wendy. Sad to say, but I think there are a lot more situations like that than we realize. Like your topic questions, what may be presented to us on the outside, whether a new house or a new outfit, more often is not necessarily indicative of what is happening on the inside.

        So much more could be talked about on this. Really good discussion, Wendy. Makes me think about these things and wonder what keeps us closed up and closed in. We certainly live in a country with free speech and opportunity. Hmmm. 🙂

        Thank you, my friend.

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