Friday, July 17, 2015

A Child's Memoir

   (Warning- There is a bit of rambling that happens!)

   Ever since we started to talk about divorce, and remarriage in my Family Relations class, I felt like I should share my personal experience with that.  I've given some brief backstory in other posts, but I've decided that I'm going to share the whole thing, or as much of it as I can remember anyway:) 

    When I was in high school, I knew there were many kids around me who came from single-parent or re-married homes.  A lot of them had gone down a path that I personally would never go down. And I remember thinking a lot of times that I could very easily be just like them, and how grateful I was that I wasn't like them. Even though I came from a "broken" home just like them, we reacted to the situation in different ways.
    I was only 8 years old when my parents got divorced (for those of you who are Mormon will recognize that this is the baptismal age--yes, my parents got divorced the year I was baptized).  Since more than half my life was "father-absent," I can only remember glimpses of when we had that "perfect" family.  I remember the Christmas my dad got us a beagle puppy, and how dang excited I was about it! I was even allowed to choose her name (I picked Chloe--I got it from Smallville because we used to watch that show).  I remember going to places my dad performed at and loving listening to him sing and entertain people (he would sing at restaurants and stuff--he sang songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, the "oldies"). I remember doing a parent-child talent show at my elementary school where me and my dad sang a duet using a Frank Sinatra song (I also remember being terrified to sing in front of people in a solo-ish setting...I still am that way).
    All these good memories allow me to remember a time when everything was perfect, at least in the eyes of a child, they were perfect.
    A couple years after the divorce was finalized, we moved from Michigan to Utah, so my mom could be closer to her family.  I was basically the only one at home (the youngest of 6, 4 of whom were living on their own, 1 was practically an adult) when the divorce happened.  Before my brother (the "practically an adult" one) left to serve a two-year mission in the Dominican Republic, I remember telling him how much I was going to miss him because I felt like we had become really close since the divorce happened and I was scared to see him go.  Over the next two years, my mom and I really bonded and for a while, she was practically my best friend.  When my brother returned home, things hadn't really changed, except he was now on the search for a wife (whom he married a year later).
   So when the time came that my mom was engaged, I'm not gonna lie, I had a really hard time with that.  After having my moms attention for the better part of a decade, I felt like she was being "stolen" from me and I felt alone, in a sense.  I was still having a hard time with it, so when the marriage happened, I honestly didn't think I would be able to go (not only scheduling issues) because I didn't know if I could handle watching my mom go off with a man who was not my dad. Since it was such a difficult thing for me, I was hardcore praying because I wanted to not have those feelings and I wanted my mom to be happy.  Suffice to say, things are better now.  It's still hard, but I think I'm becoming a better person because of it.

    (Whew!) After that long story, I just want to end with saying that very rarely are divorces the answer.  In fact, 70% of those who report unsatisfaction with their marriage reported satisfaction with their marriage 5 years later, if they stayed together.  SEE??? Divorce is not always the answer when things get hard in a marriage.  You might be thinking, "What do you know? You're not even married!" And yes, that is true...but I also know that marriage is the most important thing a man and woman could ever do, apart from bringing children into this world, of course.
    I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the Gospel.  Without it, I don't think I'd even be the same person. I don't want to even imagine what type of person I'd be, because I know it would not be good.  When things get hard, we just have to remember to keep on going.  We will fail, but the most important thing is that we get up, try again, and keep moving in the right direction.

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