As a child of divorce, you go through many different phases. First, the blissful ignorance that you only understand as a child to a situation far beyond your mind’s capacity — you parents are splitting up and there’s nothing you can do about it. The second, the blame phase. “Is it my fault they don’t love each other anymore? Is it because I don’t get along with my baby brother when mommy begs us to?” surely, you must understand that at the age of six, these are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head when your mother is tired and crying on the kitchen floor.
Ironically, you are now the one holding her saying “mommy don’t cry, everything is going to be okay”; and for a brief moment, your mother pauses and looks at you with tears that no longer flow with sadness. Neither of you are flustered, but in fact, feel calm and everything is okay.
My mother is my rock. She is the soul that gave me life, the will to live and to never give up on love. A child of divorce herself, devoted her marriage to “make it work” and to not put her children through the same broken household that she grew up in. Albeit, it was a dark tunnel we wandered through for a while, barely seeing the end. But somehow, we knew that there was a light at the end.
I don’t really remember my dad leaving. Perhaps I was used to seeing him walk out the door because he went on business trips a lot. Depending on the week, he would be in New York or Philadelphia. But he always said “love you No-No”, his nickname for me. His little girl, and with a “nosy”, his way of using eskimo kisses, he was out the door and I would wait for his return on Sunday night. Only the last “business trip” I remember him going on, he had a lot of stuff with him. Not only his usual pillow and luggage case, this time pictures and a duffel bag and rather a calm goodbye, it was somber. Not the goodbye you give to your kids before leaving for work. I remember thinking he was scared so I said to him, “here daddy, take George”, a stuffed giraffe that he gave to me on the day of my birth to complement my jungle-themed nursery. I didn’t want him to be afraid, it was only a week right?
Looking back on this experience today, I understand why my parents split up. Though it’s a tough pill to swallow, I know that it wasn’t my fault like my young self thought. Both of my parents are still important role models in my life and love me unconditionally as they have since I was born.