The four Wilson kids were slouched on the red leather couch in the family room waiting for our parents. We were called down from our bedrooms at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and told to gather for a “family meeting.’’
Something was amiss.
Family meetings were never a good sign. Last time, our parents broke the news that they were putting our dog down. We all had our assumptions about what our parents were going to say, none of which involved a happy ending. Our facial expressions showed how terrified we felt.
The moment of truth came when they walked into the room, tears dripping down their faces. My dad spoke first, “Kids, I’m moving out of the house tomorrow, and your mother and I are splitting up. I’m very sorry.” My mom emphasized how much they both loved us, and how none of it was our fault, but I stopped listening after the word "divorce."
As I went to sleep that night, I was extremely sad, especially when I replayed all of our fun moments together as a family. For the next couple weeks, I couldn't find joy in anything, no matter how hard I tried.
My friends were supportive, but they didn't know what to do. I lost interest in everything I loved. I stopped talking in class, asking friends to hang out, or caring about other people. It was a horrible feeling. I knew I shouldn't act mean to everyone, and I knew I shouldn't withdraw, but that's all I wanted to do.
In time, I finally began to realize that I couldn’t change what had happened, and I shouldn’t allow the relationship of two other people to have such a negative impact on my life. Yes, all I wanted to do was to cry, but that wouldn’t benefit me.
I started to meet regularly with a therapist, and we came up with efficient ways to cope with this dismal situation. I didn’t want my grades and swimming to continue suffering because of my parents’ divorce. I started forcing myself to hang out with my friends, work harder in the pool, and study more.
Those three changes ended up boosting my self-confidence and driving my actions. I couldn't change what happened between my parents, but I did end up with amazing friends, faster swim times, and better grades. Those three things made me happy, and at the end of the day, happiness was the only thing that mattered to me.
Through my parents’ divorce, I’ve learned that life is about living in the moment. I had to let go of situations that I couldn’t control and take charge of my own happiness. I also learned not to take anything for granted. If I could go back to our 2014 family trip to Colorado, I would prepare dinner with BOTH of my parents instead of being in my room alone on my phone. I learned that nothing lasts forever and that I need to appreciate the simple moments.
If you are experiencing the perils of a divorce, please never hesitate to reach out. Life should be lived, not endured. (224) 234-3191