An Open Letter To Children Of Divorced Parents

An Open Letter To Children Of Divorced Parents

Just in time for the holiday season.
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Dear Children of Divorced Parents,

With Halloween over, the most dreaded time of the year is upon us. The month of November is the official start of the holiday season for most Americans. For some people, this is their favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, children of divorced parents see it a different way. That’s you. When your parents first got divorced, everyone tells you how jealous they are of you: you’ll now get two birthdays, multiple Christmases or Kwanzaa’s, two Thanksgiving dinners or more gifts for Hanukkah. While that statement is true in a way, the multiple holidays also bring immense stress for some of us.

Almost every holiday you’ll be forced to ask yourself if it was your mom’s turn or your dad’s turn to have you. Did they have you last year or was it two years ago now? Will one parent get you for lunch on Thanksgiving or for dinner? What if they both decide to have Thanksgiving at the same time? Will one parent have a place to go if you end up with the other parent? Or will they spend the holiday alone?

A big choice you’ll have to possibly make is which parent will not have their kid on a major holiday. Believe me, I understand how completely difficult it is to have that hanging over your head. You may or may not love each parent equally, but if you do, the guilt you feel is real, and over time, that feeling never really fades away.

Maybe one day your parents will get remarried, and this is good in a way, but for the holiday season it only adds to the chaos. On Christmas Eve, you’ll go to your mom’s house, then to her mom’s house. On Christmas, you’ll go to your dad’s house, then his mom’s house. Then the next day, you’ll have to go to your new stepdad’s family’s house and so on. Christmas is no longer daylong but rather a week long. And when you’re spending so much time traveling back and forth, the real meaning of Christmas is lost. And this can be true for any holiday, not just Christmas. It’s no longer known as a day to celebrate, but a day to pretend like this is the normal way to celebrate holidays. And it really isn’t.

Not being able to celebrate as a family during holidays kills us more than people realize. Anyone who comes from a divorced family dreams of the days when their parents were still together. You wish for the chance to go back so you can truly appreciate what little time you had as a complete family. If your parents didn’t have a good divorce, this only adds to the stress of the holidays. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have parents who are still friends, but I guarantee that that is almost always not the way it works. When your parents hate each other, there’s a big chance that they’ll try and pit you against the other parent. So for holidays, insults about how one parent celebrated or what they got you for the holiday get thrown around. It will be a competition until the very end.

Speaking of gift giving, that can become very tricky too. Your parents will only get so much time with you. This means that one may know you better than the other, while one still thinks that you play with hot wheels or Barbies when you’re now 16 years old. The biggest problem that you may run in to is repeat gifts. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen kids get the exact same thing from each parent and have to play it off like it was unique. It’s extremely hard to fake excitement when you get something for the third time.

So, all of you divorced kids, here’s to you. I understand you, I feel your pain and I am here for you. We’re all here for you. You may feel that no one understands your slightly negative outlook on the holidays, but rest assured that you are not alone. Your parents won’t understand. Your friends may not understand. But if you can make it through the holiday season this year, then you can show them all that we are the strongest type of children out there.

Signed,

One Of You

Cover Image Credit: Kayla Green

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A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.
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Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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To The Friends I Never Thought I’d Have, Not To Be Dramatic But You're The Best Thing In My Life

I had no idea back then that you would mean so much to me now.
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Dear close female college friends,

I know that isn’t exactly the best way to start an emotional letter about how much you all mean to me but cut me some slack you all know I’m not the best with emotions. In my defense there really is no better way to describe what you are to me. You are my female college friends. But you’re also so much more than that.

In all honesty, I didn’t really have many close female friends before I started college. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them. I just didn’t have them. But then I meet you. I meet you in the library and in a coffee shop and while living with you. Looking back, I can’t help but laugh that such significant friendships started in such mundane ways. I had no idea back then that you would mean so much to me.

Honestly, I never thought you would. I enjoyed your company but I never thought I could make such a deep connection. I never realized that people could be so supportive and so kind. I never thought that I could open up to people like I have opened up to you.

Because of you, I have knocked down walls within myself I didn’t know I could. I have told you thing I have never told other. All because I know you care. You mean the world. Without you, I would not be the person I am today. Your love and compassion have shocked me to my core. I didn’t know I could ever feel this loved or supported.

So thank you. Thank you for spending hours on the couch watching movies with me. Thank you for always making me laugh. Thank you for spending tortious amounts of hours at the library with me. Thank you for making me smile when I’m sad. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for listening. Thank you for holding me while I cried. Thank you all for all that you do. It means the world.

All my love,

Your close college female friend

Cover Image Credit: Savanna Lloyd

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