I grew up in what some would call a “broken home.” My parents separated when I was six years old, so for me, I have no memory of what life was like with having both parents in my home. My parents had split custody of my siblings and me so I would say I saw them pretty equally. Divorce is never easy for any part of the family, even if it is the best or only option. It was upsetting at first, but it wasn’t until later in life that I realized how grateful I am to have grown up this way. It taught me a lot about love and life:
1. Life is Unexpected
Sometimes you think you have it all figured out, you think you have found the love of your life. That the rest of your life will be all great and dandy. But that’s never how life works, it’s unexpected. After having three kids, my parents decided to split up. It shook our world upside down. But for me, at the young age of six-years-old, it taught me that life won’t be perfect, that things always change. It doesn’t mean that you are forever doomed if it doesn’t go your way. I’m sure that in a perfect world I would have liked to grow up in a double parent household. But it taught me to not have expectations for my future. I learned to live without fear of the consequences of future events that haven’t happened yet.
Once my parents split up, my time between them was shared and I had to learn how to adapt to a new way of living. To me, it seemed like an adventure. At a young age, I learned how to adapt, and again learn that it wasn’t the end of the world that I had to live in two places. I soon found out that rolling with the punches was a lot easier than trying to fight against it. I couldn’t have stopped my parents’ divorce, because it never had to do with me. I had to learn to adapt or I would have suffered a lot of unhappiness.
3. Always Do What’s Best for You
My parents always made sure to let us kids know that their divorce had nothing to do with us. We were absolutely not the reason for them splitting up. This was nice to know because no kid ever wants to be to blame for their parents drastically changing their lives. They came to a point where they realized it wasn’t working. This taught me that it is OK to do what is best for me, even if it seems a little bit scary. I learned that the right thing is sometimes the hardest, but in the end, it is always the best decision. This was so beneficial because I did not grow up in a home where my parents faked their happiness in order to keep the family together.
4. Love Trumps All
I never grew up seeing my parents in love, my life with them has always been split. Although at times there may be a part of me that wishes I could have seen that, there has always been one thing I am grateful for. That is that the love they have for us kids has always been greater than anything else. Their decision to divorce was not only an act of love for themselves but for us too. They couldn’t have possibly been able to give us their best love if they were together and unhappy. They needed to go out and lead their own lives in order to be their best selves. In the end, love is what holds everything together even if it is essentially separate.
My parents’ divorce may have been the most influential event in my young childhood. It taught me so much about love and life. For that, I am so grateful.