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What My Parents’ Relationship Taught Me

When it comes to my family, my uncles, aunts and grandparents have stayed together since before they hit their 20s. I mean social media was not around so of course, they couldn’t slide into anyone else’s DMs, hahaha. In a sense, I look up to all of them for it and aspire to have something like that. I give them all major respect for being able to stick around and handle one another for as long as they have had. 

However, I am more focused on my parents. Not knowing quite exactly what has happened or what is happening in our parents’ marriage sets us up to believe that all is either a fairytale or makes us wonder things like, “Why are you guys still together when all you do is fight?” Obviously, we are not always involved in everything they are going through or talking about. I would usually get mad over it, but I have to understand that they need to work on some issues on their own without my siblings and I being around. 

Just last week I was practically blasting my parents and talking about the constant fighting and, what looked like, unhappiness with one another. I deeply regret it, I regret throwing them under the bus because I was not in the loop, nor was I even told about much of their history other than the fact that mom and dad got together when they were 15 and 18 and when they married, the two of them ventured off to Venezuela. 

Originally I thought my parents both came to America together, I thought they came to find happiness and opportunity as a team. 

…that wasn’t the case at all. 

Actually, my parents separated once, which I knew briefly. But I did not know that they seriously planned on getting divorced before my siblings and I were born. Complications were rising between the two, love was becoming wishy-washy, questionable and my mother and father decided that it was best to just split. My mom was the first to come to the United States. She told him, “Let’s end here, we will divorce and you will do what you want to do here”, and got up and left. 

When we were sitting down in my bedroom and talking she let me in on something:

“I planned to come here and start life with someone else, that was my goal after your father. To do me, learn English and marry someone else. In fact, there was a man who I always would see on the train. At times he would try to speak to me even though I couldn’t speak English, but each time we saw each other from across the platform we would smile at one another. It was nice, really nice. That could’ve been it honestly. For three months I had the mindset that all was over. At times I felt like this was a new chapter and other times I felt depressed. Your father followed me though, he left to come find me here because he realized what he missed and wanted another chance. Nothing like that is simple, but it was worth it. It has been hard, it really has, but we still make through it every day.”

Of course, my hopeless-romantic-self wanted to sob during all of this because let me be honest, I sometimes feel like my parents do not love each other because of the things I hear and see. Sometimes it would worry me, but I have to know that I truly do not know everything about them, the hard work they deal with and how long they have worked being together. 

So as I look at my parents smile at each other during their wonderful anniversary dinner, I think about how much work they have placed within one another. Ups and downs, children, financial and health issues that have stressed both of them, but it didn’t break them. No matter how many times they bicker at each other and fight…

It didn’t break them at all. 

It takes strength and because of this it taught me to become a firm believer of the fact that love can conquer everything and that if things are meant to be, then they will be, but let the cards fall in their place and let life guide everything. Feel, believe and trust. 

Happy 40th Anniversary Mami y Papi.  

Julitza Zapata

Stony Brook '18

Julitza is one comic book loving, video game fanatic and makeup enthusiast that's willing to share her stories/experiences and favorite things with everyone. Currently in her final year at Stony Brook she's excited to see where the future will take her and what's in store.
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