The Child With Divorced Parents

Camryn Mottl, Features Editor

When I received the phone call, it was the summer of 2015, and I wasn’t at home. I was two and a half hours away, volunteering at a camp called Timberlake Ranch Camps as a junior cabin leader (or JCL for short). It wasn’t from my mom. It wasn’t from my dad. It was from my oldest sister, who hadn’t been at the house when all of this occurred, but was still just as affected by it.

Why did she call?

To give me the news I had been waiting to hear, knowing that it was inevitable: my parents were getting a divorce.
I was now going from a world where I had lived in a house with two parents, one sister off to college, another elder sister about to move into her dorm as well, to where I called two different residences my home. Or homes.

No longer was I to stay up at night, listening to the screaming and yelling that was taking place downstairs until who knows how early in the morning. No longer was I to watch my parents at family or public activities, and be one of the only people to see the tension between them.

The transition wasn’t any better. My mom was the one who moved out of the house, taking a lot of the furniture that used to be shared by my parents with her. Before Mom found an apartment, she lived at a friend’s house for several weeks. Since the court decided that the custody between my parents with my younger sister and I would be joint, we spent half of that time with her.

To hide the pain that went on inside, I shut myself out from other people. The times when I did talk it was to fill the thoughts swirling in my head. Of depression? No. Of suicide? No. But of loneliness? That one really hit me.

Honestly, I had people to depend on, and I still do. The ones that stayed by my side I do have to thank because they got me through it. But one of the most difficult parts of my junior year was sitting by myself at lunch, and slowly, but surely, convincing my mind that it was okay to be alone.

So how did everything change? Where is that moment when the writer says, “and then it just hit me. How I need to live my life. The purpose to happiness.” For once, that’s not exactly how the story, my story, goes.

Instead of just hitting me, it came gradually. Peace. Acceptance. There are moments now where my heart hurts so much from the pain of loneliness, yet the peace and acceptance remain. What’s more, I’m still fighting the fight. My parents are just now getting closer to finalizing the divorce, after a year and a half of struggling.

Yet, there is still a happy ending. How is that possible? God only knows. Currently, I pack every Friday to switch from apartment to house, or vise versa. I have to make sure both parents know what my needs are, or my plans if it falls on their week. But, I still see the beauty within me, within the world.

As of the start of 2017, I have grown stronger and more empathetic to the world around me. I see that there are two sides of every coin and I know how different views and relationships can clash. Without that phone call, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. But I will never forget the obstacles I had to climb over, go under, and swing around in order to get here.