It was garage sale prep day. I love a good purge. So I was deep into the depths of my closet, searching for someone’s future treasure. I came across a blue folder and couldn’t remember what was in it. Well, it wasn’t anyone else’s treasure, it was mine. It was an envelope full of my baby book, certificates from my grade school days, and pictures I had drawn.
I sat in the middle of my closet floor and began to comb through these things I hadn’t seen in a very, very long time. When I came across a large, thin brown paper that had written in the corner in black sharpie “family”, I studied it to see if I had drawn it before my parents’ divorce or after. There were only 3 people in the picture and a dog, so I knew it was after. The next large, thin brown paper had written in the corner “dad”.
I’m almost 40 years old and 35 years on the other side of my parent’s divorce, and I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.
I don’t know how old I was when I drew those pictures, most likely 4 or 5. I was old enough to know that my dad was no longer a part of my “family” but young enough to draw a terrible portrait of my sister, my mom, and my dog. And at age 40, it made me cry.
I felt sorry for that little girl. I remember being the minority in my classes at school, embarrassed that my mom had a different name than I did once she remarried. Only having one parent at school functions. All of the emotions were still there, they had just been hidden away for years.
I wanted to tell that little girl who drew those pictures that she would be okay. That the tears would eventually be sparse. That life would still go on and she would become a strong, independent young woman on the other side of her broken family. She would have many blessings that outnumbered the negative. And that the growth she would find from it would be invaluable. And then I wanted to give her a big hug.
I dealt with my parents’ divorce towards the end of my teen years. I took the hard step of forgiveness that set me free in so many ways. But it still doesn’t change the fact that my parents’ divorce hurt. And 35 years later, it still does. As an adult, I know the reasons. But the truth is, it doesn’t ease my pain. I still wish my mom and dad were married. I’d love to not split holidays. I hate explaining to my kids, over and over how family relations work.
And I wonder how my life would have been different.
Divorce = pain, any way you look at it.
Whether the reasons are valid or not, someone gets hurt. And while time may heal the adults in the relationship, it may not heal the children. Do everything you can to make the best choices for the life you give your children. Don’t take them lightly, or be flippant.
And if you don’t have are facing a divorce, remember to love your children, be there for them, and support them. They will need you more than ever.