The Best Things About My Parents' Divorce

   One day in the summer before fourth grade, my parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce. As we sat in the living room, we knew by the tone of their voices that this was serious and by the end of the conversation we were all in tears. I remember being confused and furious but mostly feeling betrayed. How could I face the kids in school telling me I had a “broken family”?  But as time went by, I realized my situation was not as bad as I had thought it would be. In fact, it gave me five amazing things that I am incredibly thankful for.

    I can thank them for helping my sister and me form a stronger bond. One of my moms moved to Maynard and we began to spend alternate weekends between our two homes. My eight year old self had a lot of trouble moving between the locations, and having a travel buddy made it easier. I knew I wasn’t on my own but with the only other person who could understand how I was feeling during the transition. The little things like the rides between the houses, the room we shared in Maynard, the conversations we had at night, we did together. She was constant, the only thing in my life that wasn’t changing.

    The divorce also gave me a new definition of family. Now I know that family can have many definitions and be anywhere. My family has expanded by two amazing women who are my moms’ new partners whom I would have never met without the divorce. I primarily live in Sudbury with my mom and her partner while my other mom and her partner house hunt for the two of them, my sister and me, and my new step sister. All of this has taught me that new family members can be brought into my life by love. My new family includes all the people who were there for me during the transition: my best friends, family friends, and even the teachers who supported me through it all.

    My parents’ divorce taught me what a healthy relationship looks like. Once I realized that they were not getting along I saw they were unhappy people. Once they began dating other people they underwent a change, a good change. Both of them found people who made them happy, something they were unable to do for one another anymore. Their new partners bring out the best in them and compliment their personalities. They give one another the love that I want in my future relationships.

    The divorce taught me how to walk away from situations that aren’t working. Some kids are taught never to give up, but I learned that sometimes it’s okay to quit. Sometimes there is nothing left to do. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, the problems are just too big to be fixed. I learned that sometimes when I am unhappy, it’s better to walk away and stop fighting, even if it’s one of the hardest things I do. It doesn’t mean that I’m a failure; it means that I have made a mature decision to put my own needs before others, a lesson that a lot of people struggle with.

    Perhaps best of all, the divorce taught me how to be a better communicator. It’s taken a while but I now do believe that I am becoming better at this. I now realize how important it is to feel that your opinions are being heard. I learned that for people to feel respected, they need to know they are being heard. Throughout this process I heard my parents communicating with each other, but what helped the most was that they both listened when I tried to communicate something to them. Often it was hard, but I could always tell that I was being heard.