Two Is Not Always Better

Divorce can disrupt childhood, but the outcome can be for the best


drawing by Megan Wilson

Divorce can rupture a house, but children can learn to be strong enough to endure the hardship.

By Megan Wilson, North Allegheny Senior High School

Two of everything. Two houses. Two birthdays. Two holidays. Two vacations. You name it.

For most of us, could life be any better? Extra presents on Christmas, twice the amount of food on Thanksgiving, and two family birthday celebrations.

Still sound amazing?  What if I told you my parents are divorced? They got married in 1995, but in 2008 they realized that they were unhappy and ready to move on and live separate lives.

I’m like countless other kids at our school who are faced with the complexities of having divorced parents.

For some of us, parental divorce happens early in our childhood, but for others the separation can happen during the middle of the most stressful high school years.

I can remember the day as if it was yesterday. We had just finished dinner, and my parents told me to go upstairs and play with my toys. I went upstairs and stuck my ear up to my door to eavesdrop on what they were saying. I could hear pieces of what they were saying to each other. It wasn’t long before they asked me to come downstairs and join in on their conversation. My dad said he would be going away to live at grandma’s house for a few days. As an innocent kid, I thought nothing of it and strangely found the idea enviable. I was so naive that I actually felt jealous, as I loved visiting my grandmother’s house. I was soon met with a hug and kiss before he left. I ran to the door and watched my dad drive away, hardly grasping the significance of the moment.

For many kids, seeing mom and dad in the morning after school seems perfectly ordinary. They think nothing of it until they are unable to do it any longer. ”

Those few days, however, turned into weeks. And then into months.  I can’t begin to count the sleepless nights, but my tear-stained pillow could attest. It was a time of sudden change, of only getting to see my mom at home and no one else. It wasn’t long before I would see no trace of my dad having ever lived there. And to make this situation even worse, my loving yellow lab had left with him.

After seemingly endless months of loneliness, I was invited to spend the night stay at my grandmother’s house for the first time since my dad had moved in. When I was arrived, I was greeted with hugs and conversation and my nerves soon melted away. I stayed in the spare room and went to school the next day. The experience was completely different from what I was used to, but I didn’t mind the change. This change soon turned into a schedule that my parents and I still stick to.

Life with separated parents became my new normal — or at least as normal as my situation can be. I’ve learned to cherish the time I have with each of my parents, and I’m wise enough now to take nothing for granted.

For many kids, seeing mom and dad in the morning after school seems perfectly ordinary. They think nothing of it until they are unable to do it any longer.

This story was originally published on The Uproar on October 11, 2019.