Dear child of divorce,
You grew up in a different kind of normal. Your normal is waking up, and trying to remember whose weekend it is. It is feeling uncomfortable around your friends because they all have “normal” families.
Divorce knows no age. It doesn’t know when it would be a “good time”. It strikes before we are born, when we are 13, when we are 20. It still hurts all the same. There is never a right age to understand.
As the oldest child, I always heard, “look after your younger brother and sister”. I became the other parent. I will be honest, it was hard. You are going through this process of understanding the divorce and how to interact with your parents separately, and now you are responsible for helping someone else understand and interact as well. Forget processing your own feelings, you have two others to care for.
Time goes by and you accept it for what it is. Divorce. You adapt to the schedule of trading off holidays, and going between different sides of the family for different events. A sadness creeps in sometimes and you ask God, “If you created something so beautiful and precious as marriage, why did it get broken?” This is something I struggle with to this day.
Sometimes everyone is okay, and it just didn’t work. Sometimes you wonder what it would be like if everything worked out. And sometimes you feel bad for thinking you are glad it didn’t. But no one asked our permission, or if we would be okay with it. They didn’t ask how it would make us feel or impact our relationships with others. Just like you, I worry about my marriage not being any different. At what point does everything change?
My advice to you is to pray and talk to God. We are not in a marriage with our parents, we are in a marriage with Him. Even though these earthly marriages may not work, ours with The Lord is one that He will never let be broken. Because I stay married to The Lord, I break the cycle of the “normal” I once knew.
I am now in a marriage of my own. It is beautiful and full of grace. It is learning and loving. You too can have this. Whether it is in marriage to your spouse, or in your relationships with others. The divorce does not disappear once we’ve grown up. We simply decide how we will grow and learn from it.
From me to you,
A child of divorce
This open letter is a part of The Open Letter Collective and can be read on The Honest Pursuit