Don’t Be Afraid to Chose

Nicole - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on September 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I remember my mom waking me up one night. She told me to grab my pillow and go out to the car with her. I was only 6 years old, but I knew right away that I should be worried when she pulled the car into the garage.

My dad hadn’t come home yet. The garage was where he always parked his precious corvette; he loved that thing more than he loved my mother and me. He always pulled into the driveway too fast and right into his spot in the garage. I knew that we shouldn’t be parked there. Even though I was young, I knew this was my mom’s way of protesting. I was sitting in the backseat, hugging my pillow, terrified that he was going to open the garage door and slam into us. We waited a while, just sitting there in the dark. After half an hour, the door finally opened. He slammed on his brakes and got out of the car. They started to argue afterwards. That was the beginning of what turned out to be an unsuccessful first attempt at a divorce.

My mom and dad constantly fought like that. My dad always won the arguments, and my mom got more stressed every day. I never really cared about my dad. He was so mean to my mother and me. Most of the time, I wondered if he ever even cared about us, or if he just stuck around so he would have a roof over his head that he didn’t have to pay for. He always told me that I wouldn’t be able to stick to anything that I tried. He always yelled at me for no reason, and told me about all the stuff that I would never be able to do. He would put me down at every chance he got and it was the same for my mother.

Even in kindergarten, I would tell my mom that she should leave him, that it wasn’t worth it to stay. He didn’t pay any bills, he ate a lot, and he bought a lot of stuff that we couldn’t afford with my mom’s hard earned money. He slept all day and all night. She tried to divorce him three times, but each time he talked her out of it. We have holes in every room of our house from times that “we pushed him too far.” He never came to a single band concert or recital I had in seven years, even though I sat first chair and had solos. He didn’t care about my achievements, only my failures and anything that he could punish me for. He didn’t come to my award ceremonies or my 8th grade graduation. He didn’t care about me.

My mom had it just as bad as I did. They only fought now. They didn’t even sleep in the same room anymore. What kind of a husband is that? My mom once broke down and stated, “It’s bad when you pray that every time your husband leaves, he crashes his truck and doesn’t come home.” I knew how she felt. Because of my dad, I was seriously depressed my whole sophomore year of high school. There were days that I didn’t know if I could make it through the day. I dreaded walking through the hallways because my legs felt like they would collapse under me. I fell asleep crying every night and woke up dreading the day ahead.

Everywhere I looked I saw happy, smiling faces of people who had loving, normal families. I knew that my mom loved me, but what about my dad? I grew hateful and spiteful of everyone who had a normal family. I was jealous that they had two parents that loved them while I only had one. I couldn’t help it. I ignored it as long as I could until he eventually became too much for me to take. I moved out right before my senior year in high school started. Immediately, I began to feel a whole lot better about myself, without somebody putting me down everyday. I think it would be the same for my mom if she left.

Though it’s still looked down upon, divorce has become a more accepted option than it used to be. More people get divorced and it has become more common. I still value the concept of marriage but, I believe that divorce is sometimes a good and necessary choice in certain cases. I think that my mother and I would have been so much happier if she had gotten rid of him. I have emotional problems because of my father; I will never love or care for him. I moved out of the house, but unfortunately, my mother is still stuck there. She is tied to too many bills and a mortgage. I feel bad for her and wish that I could help her get out. Maybe it will get better now that I’m not there, but still I wish she could get out as easily as I could.