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What’s considered the “norm” nowadays is a subject that I want to share my opinion of: divorce. As a child of divorce I have seen first-hand the pain and suffering caused by the split of a family. This topic that was once rarely heard of has become so common that if you go through your neighborhood, there’s probably more families split apart than actually together. Although I am not the only child who has been through this, every divorce is different.
My parents’ divorce was one for the books. Taking almost five years to finalize, my brother and I painfully went through the excruciating schedule of back and forth from each parent’s house. Not only was this hard on us as little kids, but it was hard for my mom too because she had spent every day of our lives with us and even stayed home to raise us. We still hate going back and forth to this day.
After going through divorce, everything changed. Our family was torn apart, crumpled up, and stepped on like a piece of scrap paper with far too many mistakes to save. This meant no more “family” vacations, “family” photos, and “family” dinners. This meant spending time with the woman my dad cheated on my mom with and having people tell us it was “normal”. No. What’s normal is having my parents together and us being whole.
Being a child of divorce means more than your parents being split. It means having to take home two report cards because your parents can’t share. It means planning your outfits ahead of time because all of your clothes aren’t in one place. It means carrying around overnight bags because you have to bring your stuff back and forth. It means people always mistake your parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend for your parent and then having to suffer through the look they give you when you tell them that they aren’t your parent. It means you have this feeling like something is missing.
One of the worst parts is having to pick sides. Sometimes it’s clear who’s right and who’s wrong. Other times, it’s each parent telling you what they think you want to hear to get you on their side. Then people tell you not to pick sides because it’s “unfair.” Honestly, I think it’s more unfair for the child because it’s a big change and something that is hard to get over. One day you’re a big, happy family, and the next you’re being shifted from house to house.
Your whole life changes in a blink of an eye, and there is nothing you can do about it because it’s not your decision. I would do anything to have only one house, one bedroom, one birthday party, one Christmas, one of everything. That may sound unbelievable because multiple holidays sound like a kid’s dream, but it’s much more enjoyable when the people who love you are in one spot. It changes more than just your family life. It changes how you act towards people, how you think, how you speak, and even sometimes how you feel. I know for me, I became more guarded, but there’s a range of emotions you can feel after such a big change.
The absolute worst thing that comes out of a situation that you never asked for in the first place, has to be seeing the parent that didn’t want a divorce so broken and fragile afterwards. It hurts so bad to see them try to hide their tears from you and witness them pretend everything for your sake. In reality, you know the truth. You know what’s going on. I believe that divorce can be one of the worst things you can do to your child. It might be hard on the adults, but the children never asked for it or did anything wrong. I’ve been through it, so I know first hand how it feels to watch your family crumple apart. It does get easier after time. You start to get used to the house changes, and for me, after a while it happens less and less, and I end up spending more time in the house of my choice. Just because your family might seem broken, doesn’t mean you are.