Being a child of divorce is not an oddity like it once was many years ago. As I grew up, it became more and more common to hear that someone you knew was getting a divorce. Once it became more common to hear about, fewer people felt bad for those kids whose parents were separated because it became the social norm. But what many people failed to realize is that each divorce is different, just as each family is different. There is a broad spectrum of the reasons behind a separation, and each family will handle the situation differently. As much as those who aren't from divorced households say they "understand" because it is such a mundane event, they truly will never be able to comprehend what it means to be a kid of divorce.
From the day my parents told me they were separating, I was thrown into the learning curve of what it meant to have divorced parents. They separated when I was really young, and before any of my friend's parents did. I remember it being a strange transition that I didn't know how to talk about. I was embarrassed at first because (being at Kohlberg's Pre-conventional Moral Reasoning stage where I believed all actions revolved around me) I felt as though it was my fault like I somehow had something to do with them separating. Regardless of what my parents told me, I wasn't convinced.
Once I accepted the fact that it wasn't my fault, I was able to talk about it openly with my friends. This then started the endless stream of endless questions. I would tell them my mom was moving out, and that my dad and she weren't together anymore. They would then ask: "Where do you sleep," "Where do you keep your toys," "What if you want something when you're with your mom but it's at your dad's" and many other questions. The one I remember getting frequently was: "Who do you love more?" And the infamous declaration of, "You're so lucky you get two Christmases!" Even though I know they meant no harm by it, these questions stressed me out because I didn't really know how to answer any of them; I was entering a brand new world.
Being a child of divorce meant not having one constant home, but flip-flopping between two. It meant picking which parent to ask to chaperon for your field trip. It meant being with Mom on Thanksgiving and Christmas eve, and Dad on Christmas day one year, but switching to the next. It meant having to remember to bring important things to school with me so I could have them when I was at either house.
As I got older, things became a second nature. I'd keep gym clothes at whoever's house I would be at on the nights before gym class. I'd bring my library books to school with me even if they weren't due that day because I would be at that house on the day I needed to return them. When friends would ask me if I wanted to hangout over the weekend, I'd know whose house I'd be at without having to think about it. But even though I was used to it, didn't mean it didn't affect me.
Having two Christmases wasn't fun. Spending my birthday with one of my parents instead of both was awful. Picking which parent to invite on the field trip wasn't easy. Having to specify moms or dads, instead of just "my house" like other kids was difficult. Forgetting something at the house you weren't at was annoying. It was not as simple as having two of everything.
Regardless of how the situation started, I couldn't be happier with the family I have in my life now. Both of my parents are happily remarried, and I gained two phenomenal step parents who raised me as their own kids. As well as gaining two more sets of families that show unconditional love and care for me as if I was their blood. Now that I am further removed from the situation, I can see that they really are happier now than they were when they were together. They both deserve the world, and I want nothing more than for them to be truly overjoyed with their lives.
Being a child of divorce taught me firsthand that everyone deserves to be with someone that makes them happy.