My parents have been divorced for about seven years. Most times when people hear that your parents are divorced, they say "I'm sorry" or "Oh, that sucks." The truth is, I'm not sorry. My parents' divorce has helped me learn how different types of love work.
The first type of love is enduring love, which is a love that has developed over time. This type of love is the love my parents have for each other. They met when they were 13, got married when they were 25, had me when they were 37, and got divorced when they were 46. Throughout all those years, their love changed from teenage crush to "love of my life" to family of three and then to friends.
In high school their relationship was on and off, hot and cold, good and bad. Still, something inside of them kept bringing them back to each other. Their relationship grew stronger through college, and then they got married. They were married for 12 years before they had me. Throughout their lives, they changed with each other. Eventually, what they wanted just didn't fit well together anymore. My parents still love each other and care about each other, but they're just not meant to be married, and that's OK.
The second type of love is a platonic, familial, love. Since I was born, my parents always wanted me to push myself to become the best version of me I could be, and neither of them stopped being there for me when they divorced. They support me in my decisions and everything I do. My parents acknowledge my achievements, as well as help to move me in the right direction after failure.
I remember my mom would read bedtime stories to me every night until I fell asleep. I would always ask her to read one more, and she always did. In addition to her selfless giving, my mom has been there for me through every failure, mistake, learning experience, success, sport and so on. There has never been a single day when I have doubted the love she has for me.
My dad is always looking out for me and looking for opportunities that he believes I can succeed in. He pushes me to go the extra mile and always encourages me to try my absolute best. We don't get along often, but I know he always has my best intentions at heart.
The third type of love is self-love. My parents taught me self-love from a young age. I believe that it is important to understand that love does not always need to come from another person. Sometimes it just needs to come from you. They taught me how to be independent, think for myself rather than simply doing what everyone else is doing and to know that I am strong on my own.
Finally, and most importantly, is selfless, unconditional love. I am aware that it is rare for divorced parents to get along with each other, let alone be friends. The reason that my parents' relationship with each other is still standing is because of their ability to put the quality of my life above theirs. I'm proud of them for sitting next to each other at my sporting events. I'm glad that they have never stuck me in the middle or fought over me. They have never stopped showering me with unconditional love and support, and for that, I am so very thankful.
Yes, it would be nice to have a mom and dad who loved each other in such a way that they wanted no one else. It would be nice to go on family vacations and be able to talk about my day at dinner with both of them. Life doesn't always give us nice, and people who love each other aren't always meant to be together. We have to do the best we can with what we have, and that has to be enough.