How Growing Up In Two Different Households Changes You

How Growing Up In Two Different Households Changes You

Two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two birthdays.

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You never think it will be tour family that gets split up. You never think you will have to choose between your parents. All the arguing and fighting. The constantly meeting up with your parents "friends" when it's actually their lawyers. Always worrying about if you are with mom, dad is gonna be jealous or if you're with dad, mom is gonna be jealous. Basically living out of a suitcase most of the time and never being in one house for too long.

1. Switching between parents for each holiday.

If I was with my dad for Christmas, then I was with my mom for Thanksgiving and for New Years, or vice versa. There was always two of each holiday. Not ever being able to just be with everyone you care about, its either dad's side or mom's side. When all you want is to be able to be with both of them.

2. The step parents.

Ohh, there are horror stories about the step-parents, shipping you away, or treating you as slaves. When they try to act as if your dad or mom is no longer present, it turns into an all-out war. They don't respect any of your personal boundaries, and are always criticizing the way you were raised, or always having a double standard when it comes to their own kids and you. While not everyone has had a bad experience with step parents. This is my experience.

3. Living with either your mom or dad, your other parent misses out on a lot.

There is a lot of things that parents miss out on because they don't live close by, like award ceremonies, birthdays, sporting events. Things you wish they could be there for, to be able to share in the everyday things that shape you. To be able to have both people there who love you unconditionally and want nothing but greatness for you.

4. The constant competition between the parents to be the favorite

There is never a time where they aren't trying to compete with each other, or hoping that you will pick them over the other one. You feel like you are being pulled a hundred different directions, and you don't know which way to go. You love both of them so much but it is so difficult to have to pick between them.

5. They are struggling as much as you are.

They lost a family as much as you did, so you gotta try and cut them some slack. Even though you are sad and brokenhearted, they are more sad and brokenhearted. They just lost a husband or a wife, they promised to love each other forever and it didn't end up working out. They need time to heal just like you do. They are doing the best they can.

6. Either having to fly or drive to see your other parent, sucks.

You just wish they were so much closer so you can see them more often but they aren't. There is nothing you can do but be in the car for 4 or 5 hours because there is no other way of getting there. It is just so much harder when they are far away and you just feel like going to see them. You have to deal with the fact you aren't always gonna be able to see them.

7. Hoping you don't forget anything at their house because you won't be able to get it till you go back.

if you leave your favorite pair of shoes or a pair of shorts, you probably won't get it back for a couple weeks, or if you forget your retainer, they are gonna have to be shipped to you. Constantly making sure you don't forget to take something there or bring it back.

8. Missing how your life used to be.

Always wishing that you could have your old house back or wanting to be able to celebrate holidays how you use to be able to. Now its always separate, everything is no matter what. They may get together for like big important things but there will never be a family Christmas. It's just sad, so very sad.

9. Hoping that when you are older and have your own family that this won't happen to you.

Because your parents got divorced. sometimes you think well will get divorced from my spouse when I am older? All you want is to be able to love your spouse and always be able to make it work no matter what. and have a loving family, and not have to rip apart your kids' lives. Be happy with one another always, its a thought and sometimes its a worry.

10. Still knowing that you have a mom and dad that love you, they just aren't together anymore.

They will always be there for you no matter what, them getting divorced doesn't mean that they love you any less. It is always gonna be ok because they are always gonna be there for you, just maybe not at the same time but its unconditional love no matter how far apart you are from each other.

It gets easier as time goes by and eventually you will grow up and everything will be less complicated because you will have your own life. And they will always be there for you no matter what.

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An Open Letter To My Unexpected Best Friend

You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better.
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“It's so amazing when someone comes to your life and you expect nothing out of it, but suddenly, there right in front of you is everything you ever need."

-Unknown

Dear Unexpected Best Friend,

You were the person I never thought I would speak to and now you are my very best friend. You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better. I can't thank you enough for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today. You've taught me what it means to be selfless, caring, patient, and, more importantly, adventurous.

You don't realize how much better my life has become and all because you came out of nowhere. I didn't see you coming. I just saw you on occasion, and now I can't see my life without you in it. It's funny how life works itself out like that. Our unexpected friendship filled a hole in my life that I didn't know existed.

I don't even remember what life was like before you came along; it most likely had a lot less laughter and spontaneity than it does today. I can call you about anything and you would drop whatever you're doing to help me in any situation. You know when I need encouragement. You know when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. You always know exactly what to say.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

I couldn't have found a better friend than you if I tried. We balance each other out in the best way possible. You are most definitely the yin to my yang, and I don't care how cliché that sounds. Because of you, I've learned to stop caring what people think and to do my own thing regardless of any backlash I might receive. You are my very favorite part of what makes me who I am to this day.

It's as if I wished up a best friend, and poof — you appeared right in front of me. I am so beyond blessed to have you and I wouldn't trade the world for all our memories. Thanks for coming out of nowhere.

Love you forever and a day.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Medders

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We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

The best way to keep memories is to pass them down.

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I love country music, especially a little older country music that tells a true story. One of my favorite songs from any genre is "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. It's one of the most relatable songs for anyone from any background. As you listen to it you feel the descriptions and the emotions Johnson is trying to get across.

Jamey Johnson - In Color YouTube

The song starts out with a grandkid asking about a picture and if it's his granddad. A simple question that can start a vast conversation and pass down memories of old times. This specific picture causes the grandfather to start speaking on the tough times in the 1930s and life on a cotton farm. For me, I can feel the same way that Johnson felt hearing the memories his grandfather passed down to him because my grandfather has told me the same memories about growing up in the south in the 1930s on a large piece of farmland.

The second verse goes into the grandfather showing a picture of him and his tail gunner Johnny McGee. He gives the information that McGee is a teacher from New Orleans and he had his back throughout the war. Though my granddad has never gone into anything that happened overseas in Korea, he will tell you stories for days about Camp Roberts in California. There's even a large picture of Camp Roberts hanging in his house. It's understandable he won't talk about what happened overseas because some Veterans will just tuck it away and it's how they handle it; however, hearing the tales about his basic training, his time on a boat headed overseas, and seeing pictures in his uniform still mean a lot to me.

My favorite story he talks about is how he was used to running the fields on a farm just outside Phenix City and was used to running in the heat, but the guys from up north(especially Chicago and New York) would drop like flies from the dry California heat.

The third and final verse describes a picture from their wedding. According to the granddad, it was a hot June that year before telling how red the rose was and how blue her eyes were. For most anyone, you will hear about your grandparents' wedding day and possibly see some pictures. My granddad to this day still talks about how blonde my grandmother was back then. It just helps bring my emotions more into the song.

The one thing Johnson does say in the song that most people feel when hearing these stories or looking at black and white pictures is "A pictures worth a thousand words, but you can't see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color." There's a lot of stories I've heard from either my parents or grandparents and wished I could have been there.

The music video for the song is so simple as well yet one of the best music videos I have ever seen. It starts in Black and white with Jamey Johnson sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar surrounded by hundreds of black and white pictures. It just brings the entire vibe of the song together. After the second chorus, the video starts to change from black and white to colorized and you see the pictures in their true colors.

The first time I had a true "In Color" conversation my step-granddad on my mom's side who was the only granddad I had known for that side of the family was declining in health. I was 9 or 10 and an in-home nurse had been talking to him about all his life experiences and told me to go in and talk to my Paw Paw about them. I learned about his father died when he was 14 by getting kicked by a mule and about his many years of service in the National Guard. At that time I never realized how major that was but as I look back those are the moments I cherish and I will pass down those memories as well as the numerous times he'd run your feet over with his electric scooter.

In eighth grade, I did a project on my dad's father and pulled out a box of old black and white pictures. These pictures ranged from him as a boy, his great grandfather, his first car, him in his service uniform, on up to him in suits on his business trips for the Columbus mills. I was older then and around the time I cherished learning more about his life and wish I knew where that box was just to have a look again.

A couple years ago around my 21st birthday, I had an "In Color" conversation with my mother about my dad looking through pictures while drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. It had almost been two years since my father's death and though I'd had plenty of conversations about his high school days on the football field playing for ol' Dickie Brown to stealing Mr. Gays Batmobile to getting three licks pretty often. I'd even heard these stories from different friends of his from high school and hearing different sides makes you feel more and more like you were there. As we sat there looking at pictures my mom told my wife Sarina who hadn't heard many of the stories and I knew and old stories about her life and my dad's life till 4 in the morning.

In conclusion, pictures can be passed down from generation to generation but unless you go through and talk about them then you won't pass down the story happening in the pictures. It is especially important just to sit down with a grandparent, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an elder from your church or community to learn wisdom and about their life. I've had times I'll see an older couple or just an elder sitting alone at a restaurant and will pay for their meal(even if you can tell they have the money it's just a respect thing) or just talk to them. It can usually make their day and make them happy to share about their life with you if they don't have anyone else to. So let's keep the memories alive!

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