Dear Mom & Dad:
Congratulations. We are now joining the ranks of the countless other American families who are also divorced.
First of all, please know that I will eventually forgive you for calling off your marriage. I might yell and scream and cry and throw tantrums right now. But, someday, I will understand that the job of a parent is to do what is best for the family, and sometimes, what is best for the family is just not being together. Maybe it will actually be a relief that we won’t see each other everyday, so then we won’t get on each other’s nerves as much, and I might actually enjoy having a step mom or step dad as another role model (and another set of Christmas presents). Maybe, it might have even been beneficial for me to ‘overcome these obstacles’ at ‘such an early age’.
But, mom and dad, please, please, please try your best to keep me out of it. As a kid, I am trying so hard to wade through this world that I would really appreciate you take care of your affairs associated with the divorce outside of my presence. If you are going to call dad to yell at him, could you please just do it in your room, or in your car, or at a time I am not at home where I can’t hear you? I am trying to be “teenagery” and listen to my emo-music in my room by myself while I paint my nails, and think about that boy who passed me in the hall today… and your yelling interrupts that. If you don’t want to pay for my driver’s education course because that’s “my mom’s responsibility,” do you think you can try to resolve that over e-mail or something? If I could pay for it myself, I would, but I legally can’t work, and I need to spend my time studying for the test (so I don’t run into a deer and kill us someday) instead of me worrying about who is going to pay for it. If you don’t want to show up to my games at the same time, do you think you can just color code on a Google calendar, and then send me an invitation to view? I probably won’t notice that you both aren’t there anyways when I am in the zone, but I need to be practicing my kicks right now instead of worrying who you both will sit by, and if I need to warn a friend’s parents just in case.
Mom and dad, can you please, please, please try not to talk poorly about each other in front of me? I know that you don’t like mom, and I know that you think dad is a jerk, but I still love both of you of the same, and I still have to split my time — and talking poorly about each other makes it difficult for me to travel from house to house. I can’t really control if my father was late on child support, and I can’t really control if my mom files a restraining order on you, and I can’t really control that you are getting a divorce. But, those are the circumstances, and you are adults. And I am your child, and I would really, really, really appreciate if you could try to hold your snide comments for your friends and your co-workers. But for not me, because eventually someday, you will both be invited to my wedding, and I would like for that to be a pleasant occasion.
And mom and dad, can you please, please, please try to refrain from using me to pin against the other? Remember, I am your child — a product of your once love-and-marriage to each other, not an object. It really puts me in a bad position when you buy me better things, or let me stay out past curfew, or don’t discipline me, or give me a cellphone just because you are trying to “get back at your ex”. I am your living, breathing child, and whatever tendencies you teach me now, I will carry into my adulthood (and I really hope to maintain a healthy relationship with the world). What I need at this point in my life is consistency: consistent sleeping hours, consistent schedule changes, consistent rules. You are asking me to move house to house, bed to bed, and even though, as a teenager, I won’t admit that is what I want, consistency in this chaotic world is really what I need. And I would really appreciate it if you two could communicate and work on that for me, your child.
Mom and dad, someday I will get over the divorce. I really hope that we can do this cordially. I know that you have your reservations about each other, and that you will have some hurt feelings, and some anger and grieving to go through yourself. I know that all of lives are going to be different from here on out, but, just for me, do you think you can try to keep me out of it as much as possible? I would really appreciate that.
Love and Sincerely,
A Product of Divorce.