This I Believe

LoriAnn - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on January 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Waking up Christmas morning with my parents and my brothers and sisters still stands to the test in my head the best memory out of any I could ever wish for. The memory of sharing any special time with both my parents is precious to me. When I think of how they once were, laughing and talking about the joys of having a family and the precious moments that are cherished as a couple and as parents, my heart fills with sadness knowing that their dream didn’t last long. I still remember our house we lived in growing up. It was small yet cozy and instantly walking in it felt like the perfect family lived inside. The living room was full of pictures that represented a happy life. Most of the memories I have of that house took place in the living room as a matter of fact. Waiting for my mom to come home with a new baby, singing in front of a video camera for my dad with missing teeth, dancing alongside my parents with my brothers, cuddling on the couch as a family, and even opening presents on Christmas morning is what stays in my head as permanent memories. Now I can only dream of such memories ever since the “Divorce” happened. The arguing began slowly but didn’t go unnoticed. My older brother and I would stay awake and watch and listen carefully out of curiosity for the words exchanged. Fighting between my parents was very unusual, at least in front of us, but the fighting escalated and became loud shouting, doors slamming, and my father getting to the point of getting in his car and driving away. My mother lay still in the grass crying uncontrollably as I began to cry uncontrollably watching her from inside. When she finally settled herself and tried not to look as if anything was wrong she came inside to find my brother and I bawling with heavy tears. She grabbed us both and wrapped us in

her arms very tight telling us that everything would be all right. Deep down we knew it was a lie but acted as if we believed it to not show our mother the sadness in our faces and the pain in our hearts. The fighting began daily as we knew our perfect family was falling apart. The day we moved into my grandma’s house and my dad moved to another house was the reality of things. They were getting a divorce, which was something at the time, none of us understood as the children in the middle of it all. Suddenly it went from one perfect little house with the perfect family to fill it, to an overwhelmingly amount of feelings of confusion, separation, anxiety, and sadness. In the beginning of our changed situation, my mother worked three jobs non-stop leaving us in the care of our grandmother. It took a while before we saw dad again but our mother explained that we would have to visit his house every other weekend. Because it was so new to us the change had the most affect on my older brother and I, also, I have three younger siblings and at the time they were too young to even consciously know what was happening. Both parents had to sit down and talk to my brother and me since we were the oldest and try and come up with the best possible explanation for why our family became a broken family in the end. It was explained that for the best interest of their relationship that they no longer live together anymore and that we would still see both parents, one not a daily basis. Like every divorced parents we heard the same traditional speech that is always said,” It’s not your fault, we still love you, and we just don’t love each other any more.” For the next couple of years the healing process was slow, mostly for me. Deep down I kept my feelings enclosed and never wanted to talk to anyone, not even the counselor my parents recommended I see in order to cope with my feelings. When I went to school I kept to myself a lot of the time and was unwilling to make any friends. The only way I knew how to handle my feelings was to shut down and not give in to any open discussions of my hurt feelings. Finally it took an outburst of overloaded emotions from me to make my parents realize and myself that I really did need to talk about it and ask for help in trying to deal with everything. At first it was still very hard to even ask for how to deal with my own feelings when I would hear my mother on numerous occasions up crying all night herself. The visitations to my fathers house was extremely hard and most of the time unbearable for me. I would grab hold my mothers leg and scream for her not to make me go. Trying to overcome that was one of the hardest things I could ever do. Eventually and finally it got a little easier for me because my mother tried to explain all the time, comfort me, and reassure that everything would still be ok. Maturing into an adult, my heart stayed full of hurt feelings and it was a challenge in trying to let that go in order to open my heart to someone I could trust and love. The only experience I had to compare anything to was failed commitments, not only from my parents but also from everyone in my family. In my head I would tell myself I never want to get married nor do I ever want a family that I could hurt in the end. Now as an adult I see how couples fall apart and why they do. There are so many explanations out there for a fallen relationship. In my parents case, they married too young had five children too young and struggled the entire way. Their first decision opened up an opportunity to many wrong decisions in their journey of life together. I always tell them now that I could never imagine how they were ever married because they are so different. I actually praise that they can still get along and even better apart. In their case, they failed as a couple, but succeeded as parents in trying to help their children deal with their faults. Currently, I am engaged to be married to the man of my dreams. We have grown to love and respect each other and have shared many years of our lives together. I always tell him that I look forward to our life as husband and wife, though deep down I still feel the hurt from my parents. He reassures me constantly that our life will be different and that we will not fail. Starting out with him, first thing we both agreed on would be that we would do everything right and according to the least amount of potential problems. By that we meant, not having children right away, not rushing into a wedding, not falling into a gap of money problems, getting to know as much as possible about each other, and really testing our stability together. It’s been seven years and with the experience and love between us it has been a joy and a challenge. I stand firm in the belief that we will not fall apart. I believe after way too long of disbelief that a lasting relationship and a happy family is possible. I only hope that we could prove it to our kids that no matter what happens in a relationship, that a family can be kept strong and together and last forever. With dealing with my parents divorce I have come to realize that I must open my heart to every opportunity and open my mind to a vision of a world that isn’t perfect but that can be controlled. Life and love never be perfect and that is what I believe.