It would be a lie to say that I remember a great deal of time when my parents were still together. I was only six-years-old and finishing up the last few months of kindergarten when my parents sat my sister and me down at the dinner table. Clearly, something was off as there was no dinner served, and my sister already seemed to be nervous about what they'd say. As they explained what was happening, I thought back to the times where I'd heard them yelling in the kitchen or bickering in their bedroom. Despite the intensity of their disputes, my little mind hadn't considered that they actually disliked each other or were angry with each other.
After revealing their divorce, my sister asks, "does that mean you guys are breaking up?"
Hearing their answer, she burst into tears. They began to comfort her while I sit there, not quite phased by the change. Maybe I was too young. Maybe I was not surprised. Or maybe I simply didn't mind, because from that day on, my parents' divorce has never brought me anger or sadness.
My dad, my older sister Mykal, and me
My mom, Mykal, and me
For my elementary years, change became inevitable every day. By second grade I had lived in three different houses, by third grade I gained a new baby sister, and by fourth my mother remarried, giving me a stepdad. As a child, I was lucky to have been ignorant of the problems that may have been around, or I was just quick to forget. All in all, my childhood was -- for the most part -- not affected by the divorce. The only thing that made me feel different was that I hadn't ever been to Disneyland like many of my friends, and even that changed when my dad took my sister and me as a surprise.
From middle school to today as a graduated high school student rising into college, I can't imagine the person I would have been had my parents never divorced. My complacency towards the divorce most likely derives from my young age, although my sister and I worked towards taking the situation presented to us and finding happiness within it. Living in a household with two unhappy parents would have created a toxic and unhappy environment that no child deserves to live in. My experience of divorce at a young age most likely differs greatly than from those who went through the process at an older age, as they saw their parents when they were happy as a couple.
Additionally, divorce may happen due to unfortunate circumstances, and I am very thankful that my situation was one of the better of the many. I wouldn't disagree in saying that divorce can be a selfish decision, but in many cases, divorce creates a better environment for kids who watch their parents struggle in an unhappy relationship and ultimately may create happier lives for each family member.
When talking to my dad, he sees our family's separation as the best possible solution to an unfair circumstance. My parents recognized the repercussions that would come from their divorce and thus made sure that my sister and I were able to transition with as much ease as they could supply. Of course, things aren't easy every single day, but the work both my mom and my dad have put into my sister's and my own comfort is admirable.
Living in two separate households with two different parents, I was able to learn from each individually, and take valuable lessons from both independently. Both of my parents hold strong views and convictions about our nation, about politics, and about morality. It has been a very empowering and enticing learning from each of their thoughts and ideas. Considering how some of their ideas are similar, and some starkly different, I have become a more well-rounded person and more cognizant of problems that arise from opposing views. I am better at identifying the truth and the extremes of each side of an argument, allowing me to see most points of views with an open mind.
I got the opportunity to see each of them find their new happiness, whether through a new job, a new spouse, new opportunities, and more. Not only did my sisters and I grow, but we saw our parents grow as well into, not necessarily better or different, but newer versions of themselves. My mom has made an impact on nutrition and caretaking within parts of my community; my dad has performed strong leadership at home and in his workplace, but has also shown that he knows when it is time to take a break; my stepmom has a new and constantly growing ski wear business that exemplifies her creativity and increasing confidence in her own creativity; my stepdad has given so much generosity to my sisters and me, and brings relaxation and fun to the table when he sees it is needed. I have no idea if each guardian figure in my life would have taken new steps in their lives like these had there been any divorce and remarriage. Regardless, I am lucky to have witnessed the love, growth, and ideas that came from each individual.
Divorce is not fair; it is not good, and it is not fun. However, I can say with confidence that I wouldn't be where I am today without the people, the circumstances, and the opportunities given to me that came. I love my two happy families.