After reading a Jon Acuff post yesterday, it really made me think. For the entire background and context of my post, read the post entitled, Divorce is so ordinary we sometimes forget the extraordinary pain it causes. If you aren’t going to read that then, know the quote to follow is where this entire post spins from, “If you grew up with divorced parents, are going through a divorce or are divorced, I’m sorry for all the times that I didn’t understand how hard that experience can be. It might be common, but it’s never easy.”
I never, not even once for a split second want someone to think I had it “bad”. I don’t want anyone to ever feel sorry for me or to give me pity because I grew up in a “non-traditional home”.
Allow me to give you some of my background before you think I’m on a high horse. I want you to know (here’s the disclaimer) this is MY story and MY situation. As you might be able to figure out my Mom, was a single parent. After my parents divorced my Mom was taking care of two girls, and my Dad saw us on the weekends. Now, keep in mind both of my parents had full custody even though they were divorced. My dad got remarried twice and Lynn is the person I’d consider to be my Stepmom. My Mom got remarried to her now husband, Joel and I couldn’t be happier for either of them.
Now, as a child of divorced parents, I get it, but I doubt I’m the “textbook” case. Having divorced parents as a young child and growing up in a split family stinks, but you play the hand you were dealt. Things can only get better. I appreciate the kind words that Jon has, but the last thing I want is for someone to feel sorry for me because of how I grew up and because it wasn’t the “perfect” family situation. Growing up how I did and in my less than “normal” family was perfect for me. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my mom with a better match than my Stepfather, Joel. As all of you know, I never refer to Joel as my Stepfather because he is so much more than that. To me, Stepfather or Stepmother gives such an awful connotation. Thanks to Disney movies we just see Stepparents, as evil-not-good-enough-not-my-real-parent type of figures in your life and that couldn’t be more wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, things weren’t always rainbows and butterflies, but just like any relationship there is give and take. For awhile, I grew up with my parents living a few blocks from each other, then my Dad moved about 45 minutes away and that got harder and then he moved again, a state away which was even harder, but we made it work. Due to the distance, I wasn’t able to see my Dad as frequently, so my Mom obviously played (and still does) a huge roll in my life; so did my grandparents and then Joel.
Rather than sulking over my parents divorce, I’ve embraced it. I would like to think I always did, but as a child it was hard to see my Dad drop me off at home and I remember countless times crying to my Mom, “asking her why he couldn’t stay or when would I see him next?” Don’t feel sorry for me, because I had a moment of sadness, we all do. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In hindsight, I know I can look back and feel grateful for the awesome parents (both sets) that I got. With four parents you have the potential to learn and experience so much more than the average kid. Without my parents divorce I wouldn’t know what it’s like to start all over, travel the world or even push myself to be an independent young woman.
Sure, my situation is different than the 13-year-old boy that Jon referred to in his post, but my situation really made me who I am. I couldn’t dream what my, my sister’s or mom’s life would be like without this life turning event happening. I hope that over the years, that boy will understand why his parents got divorced; that he knows it’s not his fault. I hope his parents keep communication with each other and have pleasantries to exchange even if it is a show for their son. It’s hard now, but it will only get better. Understand that parents are ALWAYS taking into consideration their children’s best interest and splitting up could very well be one of them.
Parents, if you’re reading this (which I know you are), thank you for pushing me and helping to mold who I’ve become. Thank you for showing me the world, giving me countless opportunities and always cheering me on. Without you in my life, so much would be different. You’re gems and I’m happy that I get to introduce you as my parents. I love you!