Divorce is such an ugly, sad word.
When people hear that my parents split up when I was little, the response is always, Oh, I’m sorry, as though I just said someone passed away. The thing is, I don’t want anyone to be sorry, because I certainly am not.
Although I have no memory of them together, my parents were obviously unhappy, and the idea of them remaining that way for the “benefit” of their three children makes no sense. Instead, they were able to part ways amicably, and subsequently meet people who did make them happy—people to whom they are still married to today—therefore setting an example of what we should strive for in a relationship, rather than the opposite. In two sets of loving parents, at that!
Having a large family is a gift, and I do not for one second romanticize things having gone differently.
Was it always easy? Of course not. I would often painfully miss my dad, despite seeing him every other weekend. However, every other weekend is a long time for a child to be apart from their parent. As a parent myself now, I realize that it had to have been even harder on him. Did I often feel like a ping-pong ball who didn’t really have a permanent home? Yes. But these things did not damage me; I believe they made me a stronger person.
Damaging would have been my parents staying together, living in an unhappy home, and my brothers and I witnessing that our entire childhood.
I did not suffer abuse, and I did not suffer neglect; instead, I doubled the birthday celebrations, the Christmas dinners, the bedrooms, the Kirk Cameron posters, the friendships, and most importantly, I doubled the family members who love me.
I gained cherished memories I never would have had without my little pink suitcase traveling with me, back and forth.
Without the divorce, I would not have memories of waiting anxiously for my dad to pick me up in grade school for random McDonald’s lunch dates, and then in high school being excited all day on the Fridays he’d pick me up for the weekend, waiting for his super cool car to pull up and impress my friends. Then driving off listening to oldies with the sunroof open. I would not have memories of having donuts with him every morning, and those middle of the night swims with my brothers when we were too hot to sleep. I wouldn’t have truly appreciated watching those Sunday football games on his lap if I didn’t know it was a fleeting moment before I had to leave him again.
Without the divorce, I never would have grown up spending summers at my stepdad’s family cottage with our cousins, where he taught us to fish and drive the boat he had built for us; where my Grandma read to us every night while we ate toast with cinnamon sprinkled on top, wearing matching slippers she had knit for us all. The same lake my kids make their fondest memories on every single summer.
Without the divorce, I would not have known how incredibly strong my mother is—even if it took me becoming a mother myself to fully recognize that.
Without the divorce, I would not have three brothers and three sisters who I would quite happily spend all of eternity on a deserted island with.
Without the divorce, I may not have moved to Scarborough and met my future husband at that corner store when I was 13, resulting many years later in our two beautiful children and the wonderful life we share today.
As you can see, divorce does not have to be a negative thing—it can have a happy ending. So let’s stop assuming it’s a bad word, because you never know what beauty and happiness can come from it.