People always ask me if it was hard coming from a broken family. By broken they’re referring to the fact that my parents divorced earlier than I can remember, both went through multiple relationships, and my siblings didn’t always have the same last name as me. From as early as I can remember, my parents didn’t get along, I was passed back and forth on a strict schedule as if the custody papers were actually a child rental agreement. I didn’t understand why my parents didn’t get along but even more confusing, I didn’t understand how they ever got along with each other. Honestly, it’s a miracle I was conceived. My friends would always ask if I wished they were still married but I couldn’t picture them together so that was always a quick and easy, no.
The hardest part about coming from a broken home isn’t that your parents aren’t in love anymore. The hardest part is that it’s not about you. When I say not about you, I mean nothing, nada. Even things you would think should be about you like your schedule, your school lunch money, your clothes, your extracurricular activities – they’re not about you, they’re all about the other parent. I felt like my parents spent more time trying to get back at one another, or jab each other, than actually tend to my needs. Being an only child only amplified the situation. I think with a few more biological siblings, they might have been too distracted but as an only child, my mom definitely had way too much time on her hands.
Whenever someone reacts to my childhood with sympathy I am always a little perplexed. If anything I feel fortunate to have come from a ‘broken home’. While people like to scoff at the fact that my dad has been married two times since my mom, I feel like I am the one who should be laughing because I’m rolling five deep when it comes to parental support after you count my mom’s beau who has been in my life since I was five. I might have been born an only child but I have been blessed with six siblings as a result of divorce (thank God, let’s face it I probably would have gone crazy by myself). I have one half brother and if my dad and his mom had never split I would not be here. What used to be a battle between attending 2 Christmas’s became a battle between 4 Christmas’s since I still visit my ex-step-mom’s house on the holidays. I can’t help but smile and feel loved. It’s hard not to feel the support of that many people.
I’ve gone through things I’d rather not relive. There were times that weren’t great and times that were downright awful, but whose family doesn’t have those times? I’d say the true meaning of family is having those rough edges that can make things uncomfortable with them but yet still make them your first choice above all else. Without my mom’s boyfriend, who would I go to when she has one of her moods? Heck, who would she go to when I have one of mine? Having a broken home teaches you that blood isn’t always thicker than water (sometimes it’s just as thick), forgiveness is possible, and although we were both grown adults, it was possible for my dad to find someone who would love me and my brother like we were her own.
I don’t know who I would be if it hadn’t been for my broken home. The adversity has played a role in making me who I am that nothing else ever could, in a very positive way. So please, if I end up going into any great detail about my Brady Bunch family, please don’t feel sorry for me, my heart is full and I have no other words to describe my upbringing other than to say that I was incredibly blessed to be given so many people who care so much about me, whom I care so much about in return.