As far back as I can remember, my parents fought.
As far back as I can remember my dad slept in a LazBoy in the basement, instead of in a bed with my mom. He used a plastic water bottle as a urinal and played online poker into the wee hours of the morning. My mom spent her nights rekindling her relationships with ex boyfriends who lived across the country in Boston and New York City. My parents continued fighting and it only grew worse as the years went on.
Together, they faced my dad losing his job in the stock market crash of 2008, moving my family across the country to California, and dealing with my brother’s premature death. They learned to co-depend on each other in an unhealthy way. My mom needed my father for companionship and money, while my dad used my mom as an emotional crutch after a long day’s work at the office. They both claimed they loved each other, but it went deeper than that.
Spend so much time with a person and you find it hard not to.
As kids, we all fear divorce. As a child, I threw up a lot, not because I was sick, but because I was sick to my stomach with fear that my parents were going to get divorced. If parents squabble, disagree or fight we are immediately afraid divorce is coming next. We fear broken homes and Christmases spent apart. We fear step parents and half siblings. We fear two homes, alimony and child support.
But why? Because as kids, we fear the unknown. We are afraid it will get worse, but I have learned that is if it is bad enough it cannot get worse, only better. Divorce does not mean your parents don’t love you, or even each other. I believe that divorce means they have found enough peace and courage within themselves to end the bad relationship and move on.
I believe divorce is not only about endings, but also new beginnings. I am not saying that divorce is easy.
My parents ending their marriage is one of the hardest experiences I have ever gone through, but while it is hard to see your parents apart, it is even harder to see them tearing each other apart. It is difficult to see my mom snuggle with her new long haired, gluten free, 53 year old boyfriend, but far better than seeing my mom cry every night. As amusing as it is that my dad has Tinder and Match accounts on which he shows me prospective girlfriends, I feel a twinge of pain, because all I want to do is “swipe right” for my mom. It is hard to go to my old house, now my dad’s home, and see none of my mom’s pictures, dresser, clothes, toiletries, and her presence vanish, like it never existed there.
But it was harder to see my 7 year old brother call the police on my parents when the fighting became too much. I believe in divorce because my mom is happier and so is my dad. My mom has found new confidence in a job and going back to school. My dad is more relaxed; he bought cable this past winter and allows cereal for dinner. Divorce is not always easier, but sometimes it is the better option and other times the only option.
Bad things fall apart, so better things can fall together, this I believe.