When I was five years old, my parents got divorced. Through the separation process, and some years after, my parents fought a lot. They sometimes brought my 2 sisters and I into it, which was really frustrating. Growing up with parents who are divorced has been a struggle for me throughout my life. It’s hard to put into words my experience and ongoing trials I go through with divorced parents.
My parents met when my mom was in her early twenties and my dad was thirty. They got married a couple years following the time they started dating. Shortly after getting married, they had my older sister Maddy, then me, and after that they had my younger sister Cassie. I can clearly remember us being a happy family. I had the best parents who worked as a team. We did a lot of stuff together as a family, gardening, playing outside, and staying active. We lived in a big house off of 85th in Green Lake, Seattle.
I remember being young when the fighting started, yelling and screaming. It scared my sisters and me a lot. No one wants to witness their parents fighting as a kid. When I was five, Maddy seven, and Cassie three, our parents got divorced. Once the process was finished, my mom got custody of us and took us to live in a house with her. My dad stayed at our house in Ballard and we moved into a house with my mom and her new boyfriend, which is also whose baby she was carrying.
Over the next few years, we had been back and forth between both parents. I remember I sometimes hated leaving my mom and dad. I wished I could be with both of them at the same time. Me and my sisters lived in a new house in Everett, with our then new Step dad, Mom, and baby sister Meghan. Whenever we went over to my dads, there was always something my parents were fighting about, whether it involved us or not, we would always get an earful from both of them.
This point of their separation really affected me the most. I didn’t realize until I got older that we should have never been exposed to that part of their lives, considering how young we were. Another part of their divorce was dealing with a step dad I’ve never been fond of, and neither were my sisters. It was somewhat of a culture shock, him growing up in Mexico, and for us, as we began living with a guy who wasn’t even our dad. I would always ask my mom why she couldn’t have married someone else.
Someone we liked. My step dad was the type of guy who only cared about his “real” children, not us. It became a constant struggle for attention from my Mom. When we were young, my sister and I were treated like maids around the house when my step dad was around. He is honestly one of the main reasons why the divorce was so heartbreaking for me and my siblings. I feel as if my mom had married someone who supported her and loved her unconditionally; it would have made more of a positive impact during this hard time in our life.
Later on, around fourteen or fifteen years of age, I saw my dad slip away from me. I saw him less and less every month. This crushed me; I didn’t understand it at all. Once I got to high school, I never saw my dad. I would try to think of the last time I had seen him and I couldn’t even remember when it was. My dad had lost both of his parents in the last year and I always had this feeling he had never moved on from the divorce. My dad has always been stubborn and I think he has always held onto that part of his life.
How could you not? I remember my dad had told me when I was in middle school, that he had been an alcoholic. He said he drank a lot when he was young but stopped once he had kids. Shortly after realizing how little I saw my dad, I started getting phone calls and texts from family members, saying they had smelled alcohol on his breath. When I heard this, I was crushed. I didn’t believe them; I was so mad at them for telling me that. I thought to myself how my dad could choose alcohol over his daughters. I think somehow over the next years of high school I just pretended he doesn’t exist.
I did this because as a young teen, I should not have had to constantly worry about my dad. After a couple of years knowing about his drinking, my sisters and I found out he got a DUI. I hated him; I was shocked and didn’t understand why he would go down this road and do this to himself. We finally had to confront him about his drinking. Me and my sisters told him we wouldn’t be seeing him if he continued going down the wrong path. He has been sober ever since then. His actions are inexcusable but I believe they were the repercussions of divorce. This shows just how serious divorce is and what problems it causes in people’s lives.
Today, I still go through phases where I think about what life would be like if they never got separated. I constantly compare my family to others with married parents. Dealing with divorce hasn’t been easy to deal with, but it’s normal for me now, something you get used to. Which sounds crazy, but it is the way I have to think to be happy. Divorce has been challenging for me and I don’t think it will ever get easier. To be able to move on my life, I just have to think more positively about the situation.