The Aftermath of Divorce

Kristin - LaGrange, Kentucky
Entered on April 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, setbacks

The Aftermath of Divorce

Looking back on my childhood, I remember thinking everything was perfect. I had all the toys I could have ever imagined, I constantly played with my older brother and sister, and my parents were always there for me. No matter what happened I had my parents to confide in. However, when I was in the fifth grade everything changed. My mom wanted a divorce. I realized then that nothing would ever be the same. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter would no longer be celebrated with both of my parents. My life and all that I knew was slowly unraveling into what seemed to be a horrible nightmare. Not until a year ago did I come to understand that through difficult times, a family who works together can get through anything.

When my parents called my siblings and me into the living room, I immediately knew something was wrong. My mom and dad had tears in their eyes and were hesitant to say anything. My mom spoke first and broke the news that she and my dad were getting a divorce. My brother started crying but I held my tears back. I felt more anger than anything. I felt betrayed. I distinctly remember a time when I asked my dad if he and my mom would ever get a divorce, and he said never. As a naive child, I didn’t understand why my parents would ever think to get a divorce. My dad promised me that they never would break up so why did that change? As my mom explained to us that she was looking for a house to buy and that she would be moving out, I realized that my life would never be the same. My perfect childhood didn’t seem to be so ideal anymore.

There are so many memories of my parents’ divorce that I have tried to forget. Some of the worst involve my mom. When I was in high school my mom began dating a man named Frank who lived in Florida. My mom met him on a work trip and began to talk to him on the phone every night. Since he lived in Florida I never thought they would actually date. One summer my sister and I decided that we wanted to go to Orlando Studios for vacation. When I knew we were going on vacation to Florida, I figured that I would have to meet Frank at some point. Little did I know that Frank would be with us everywhere we went in Florida. On the vacation he was nice but I still didn’t like him. I hated like that fact that my mom was dating a man other than my dad. About a year after my mom and Frank started dating, my mom decided to let him move in, despite that fact that he was leaving behind two children in Florida. Since I lived with both of my parents that meant that I would have to be around him every couple of days. However, when my dad found out that my mom was letting Frank move in he refused to let me stay overnight at my moms.

My relationship with my mom weakened as I only saw her after school for dinner. Since I went over to her house for dinner I had to see Frank every night. I began to hate Frank and how he treated us. He would continuously claim that my brother looked at porn while he was at college and say horrible things about me and my sister. He would ask my sister why she was so fat compared to her senior photo. And he would also say that I looked fat, but really I was all muscle. One day, he and my mom picked me up from school and he asked, “Have you gained weight?” I looked at him in disgust and said, “No, I have lost weight.” He continued to try and prove to my mom that I had stomach fat all the way home. When we got home he showed her pictures of me where I appeared to have a fat stomach. The cycle of rude comments continued for months without my mom stopping them. The day Frank told me that my father was a bad dad was the day I stopped talking to him all together. That same day my mom called me and yelled at me furiously because Frank wanted to move back to Florida. She blamed me for Frank wanting to leave and said that I ruined the one thing she had going in her life. She yelled at me for 20 minutes telling me how wrong I was to not want to be around Frank. I tried to explain why I despised Frank but that just made her madder.

It seems like my mom would have seen the bad side of Frank but she was never around to hear most of the things he said. Her loneliness took over her decision making and she stayed with frank just so that she wouldn’t be alone. Slowly but surely my mom’s relationship with Frank began to fall apart. They began fighting and my mom realized that Frank was not good for her. She found out that he had been getting into her email to see what guys she was talking to. He also became extremely jealous and would accuse her of cheating with other men. After he and my mom broke up he would constantly find out where she was going for work and call the hotels. I think she finally realized the mistake she had made by dating him. When Frank finally moved out it had been more than a year that my siblings and I dealt with her terrible relationship. As my mom realized her lapse in judgment she apologized to us for everything she put us through and promised to change.

Although my mom apologized to me for the mistakes she made, I began to hold grudges against her. I was so hurt by the situation with Frank that I didn’t think my relationship with my mom would ever be the same. It seemed that the more years my parents were divorced that more I didn’t get along with my mom. I tried to forgive her for wanting a divorce in the first place. But seemed the more fights I had with my mom the more I blamed her for ruining my perfect family.

Over the past few years I have been trying to let the past go and focus on how my mom is today. She has learned a lot from her experiences with Frank and has made an effort to explain to us why she wanted a divorce. Going through romantic relationships myself has shown me how being lonely can alter someone’s judgment. I have also learned that relationships are hard and that some of them don’t work out. Through my mom’s explanations I have come to realize that everyone makes mistakes. I can learn from my mom’s mistakes and move on just as she did. My mom has also shown me that everyone goes through difficult times but they can overcome them. My mom’s past doesn’t matter to me anymore. What matters most is that we have a strong relationship.

I never imagined that my parents would ever get a divorce, but it has helped me in so many ways. Because of my past I have come to believe that a family can get through anything. No matter how severe the heart aches, a family can overcome its challenges and love one another. I understand now that people make mistakes but they also learn from them. If my family can get through a divorce and bad relationships, than we can get through anything.