I was only three years old when my parents got divorced. I can't remember anything from the time they were married, except for one screaming fight where my mom locked herself in the bathroom. I told my mom recently about that memory, and she assured me it was fabricated. They never fought in front of me, she says.
Likely story, guys.
Still, growing up, I was pretty damn lucky. My parents mostly got along, split custody of me, and were even able to celebrate the occasional holiday together. Though their relationship has since deteriorated, the fact that they mostly got along when I was a kid — and stayed far enough away from each other to ensure it — helped make me the relatively well-adjusted, normal-range neurotic I am today.
I said it as a kid to many a pitying adult, and I'll say it again: I'm glad they got divorced, because it made my childhood happier than it would have been had they stayed together. Still, being a child of divorce is not without its challenges. If you're a product of one of the 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce, then you know what I'm talking about. There are some things only us we of the divided homes can truly understand.
Don't worry, mom and dad, we love you no matter what. This isn't about something you did. (Oh wait, it kind of is...)
growing up, holidays like thanksgiving weren't so much celebrations as they were custody battles
maybe you alternated years
or maybe they fought over you each time
you learned to tune out certain things early on
like your parents' favorite digs:
'i'm not trying to say anything bad about your dad but...'
and 'what your mom doesn't understand is...'
and 'where did you learn [insert bad habit] from? did you pick that up from your dad?'
but usually, you didn't feel nearly as bad for yourself as other adults seemed to
though when you went over to a friend's house for a sleepover it was sometimes bittersweet
Everything was so ... normal.
when parent-teacher conferences rolled around, you had different worries than most kids
Like how your parents would deal with sitting in the same room for an hour
the movie mrs. doubtfire meant a lot to you
as did bye, bye love
and later, gilmore girls
If only you and your mom got along like that and your dad was that handsome! Wait, uh...
but screw the parent trap for giving you false hope
You parents get back together AND you have a twin?!
two different houses meant two different sets of rules
very likely, you got to eat more junk food at your dad's house
but the argument 'but dad lets me...' got you nowhere fast
when your parents started dating other people, you had all kinds of mixed emotions
Having your mom or dad happy: pro. Having a virtual stranger in the house: con.
if they remarried, you probably came to love your new stepparent
The evil stepparent trope is mostly a myth. Chances are, they were even nicer to you than your actual parents.
these days, you sometimes feel weird that you don't have two houses
and you may have a hard time staying in one place
or in one relationship, for that matter
when you visit home, it may as well be a hostage negotiation
because now it's your responsibility to make sure each parent doesn't feel slighted
still, you can see now that your parents' divorce did make you wise beyond your years
because you're not as afraid of conflict
and don't put as much emphasis on the word 'forever'...
...as you do on the word 'happy'
yes, as much pain as having divorced parents can still bring
you really are glad they didn't stick together for your sake
because we all know how that ends up
Fine —either way, you're probably going to need some therapy.