Second Chances

Caitlin - Appleton, Wisconsin
Entered on March 18, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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.

Growing up, I was one of the lucky ones. After hearing my childhood story, many people wouldn’t agree with me, but I know it is true. I cannot write the whole story here, but a part of my childhood should be enough for someone to understand what I believe.

My parents divorced when I was only two years old. When I was little, they wouldn’t tell me the reason behind the divorce but simply stated that it wasn’t my fault. A few years ago, I learned the true reason behind the separation in my family. This was a hard blow at the age of eighteen, but I realized that this was the perfect time for me to hear it. Hearing about the trouble that my parents had in their relationship made me reflect on my past and what I had to learn from their mistakes.

Having divorced parents meant that I would spend a week at one parent’s house and then the next week would be spent at the other’s. This was hard on my father because he knew about the difficult situations that my mother was unknowingly putting me through. My mom spent a lot of my childhood “looking for a man” instead of being a mom. I can only say this because she has told me so herself. I had never thought of it that way until she told me that was how she felt.

My mother spent six long years in an abusive relationship. He never hurt me and only physically abused my mother a few times that I knew about. The abuse was mostly mental, which was why it was so hard for her to get out of the relationship. Having a daughter that was turning ten, this was possibly the worst time for her to be in this relationship. My mother missed out on almost all of my childhood sports, friends, and any other extracurricular activities and it made me feel very unloved. After this relationship, she dated many more men, some were fatherly, some were alcoholics, and some were well…just different. Throughout this time, my mother and I were pulled farther and farther apart. It was to the point that I wouldn’t even want to go stay at my mother’s anymore. We both thought that this stage would never end.

For almost six years now, my mother has been married to my wonderful stepfather. Things have turned out great for them and my mother is happier than I have ever seen her. She smiles like the sun is always shining.

Most people would say that after what my mother had done in her first marriage and her past relationships, she wouldn’t deserve the relationship she has now. Well, I believe that she does deserve every part of it. Everyone makes mistakes. The part that matters is what you can take from them. From all the mistakes my mother and I have made, I learned a lot and the most important lesson is that everyone deserves a second chance.