At a young age of 17 my parents separated and as the youngest child out of three, I had to deal with it the most. Having my mother move to a whole different state my senior year of high school was extremely difficult. Not only did she leave my senior year but that day she left was the day I took my SAT test, so imagine how I was feeling. I remember when she came into my room and left I cried, on the way to the test I cried, after I took the test I cried. For weeks I was crying because for 17 years I grew up seeing both my parents in a household and was left to then only seeing one. My father worked two jobs and at the time I was cheerleading. At that point the only time I would see my father was when he dropped me off at school. Dealing with my parents separating was not easy. I was extremely close with both and at that point in my life and I felt like I was by myself. It was my senior year of high school which was the wrong time to be alone. In this article, I want to give advice to anyone who might be going through the same thing.
“It’s not your fault” That’s what typical parents say when they are getting a divorce. My parents didn’t tell me that, but in retrospect, it was my fault. I saw my parent’s marriage start to fall apart when I was 8 years old and I never said anything. I never told my parents, my sisters, or even my friends at school what was going on in my 8-year-old brain. As I got older I finally told my mother my thoughts as a child and that’s when she said: “I hope you don’t blame yourself for me and your father’s divorce.” Do I? Absolutely. But then I had to remind myself as I got older that I can’t control my parent’s actions. If they decide to step outside their wedding vows what I am supposed to do? Cry and plead? Well, that doesn’t work. Just remember it’s not your fault and you cannot fix it. If your parents are not happy then let them separate. You don’t want to live in a place where two people can’t live with each other. Like I told my mother “I don’t want you and Daddy together for the sake of me. If you feel like you need to leave you can.” She took that statement and ran with it.
Finding support outside of my home was key to my healing process. At this point in my life, the anticipation for graduation was real! Being the Co-Captain of the Varsity Cheer Squad and be attentive in class wasn’t easy. When I became a cheerleader my mother would bring me to practice because I didn’t have my license yet. At that point, I was depending on my mother to take me and pick me up from practices and games. The person I depended on next to drive me to all the cheer practices was no other than my cheer coach. She took care of me from October-February. The whole cheer season, I was basically one of her children. Luckily, my coach lived in the same town as the high school. She gave me a house key and said: “Welcome to the family.” Every day after school I would walk to her house and do my homework then go to practice. She gave me the ability to go in the fridge and cook if I wanted to. Basically doing whatever I wanted but I never took advantage. My coach was there for me when I broke down crying in her bathroom because that day and many other days I was missing my mother. I would talk to my mother every day on the phone but I needed her physically there for a hug but instead, I got one from my coach. Which helped a lot throughout the cheer season.
My parents have been legally divorced since June but you wouldn’t think they were. My parents and I will be on three-way on the phone at least 3 times a week. My parents do not hate each other, they can’t hate each other. They have three children together and a grandchild. It does hurt to know that my parents are not together and the thought of them being with other people but I have to deal with it. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I cannot dwell on it. What keeps me going is that I know my parents are happy with where they are in life and that it could be worse. They could hate each other.