DIVORCE IS STILL A BAD WORD
By Lauren Alicia | July 22, 2015 | 0 replies
Splitsville contributor and author Lauren Alicia weighs in on her own experience as a child of divorce with this essay:
While divorce may be a blessing for some couples, some kids of divorce may view the ‘blessing’ differently.
I don’t care how common people think it has become… divorce is still a bad word.
If you think it isn’t, ask your kids, niece, nephew, or any other person’s child and see how they respond. To them, it’s simply unknown change that’s become their reality.
I wrote a book on being an adult child of divorce, and while it was only in its Word doc state, I became extremely comfortable with saying it, talking about it and my parents being it, after dissecting what divorce actually meant to and for my life.
My parents have been divorced for about 10 years after 21 years (and a few months) of marriage. Most times, they can be friendly and visit, or even attend a sporting event together. However, in this story, my father wasn’t present but his presence was…
My father has season tickets to a sports team and often, he gives the tickets away if he doesn’t want to go or isn’t in the mood to accompany someone. On this day, he gave the tickets to me, and I took my mother (although she had recently gone to a game with him).
In the past, I have gone to these games with a friend and something interesting to say the least, ALWAYS happens, and this day with my mother was no different.
We watched the game, took selfies, my mother made up calls in her attempt to support the game (I don’t think she fully knows the game…but that’s neither here nor there), and then, the game was over. Or was it?
When you’re sitting in season ticket seats, other owners tend to notice when different people are sitting in those seats. So, after the game was over, the couple sitting next to us (a man and a woman/season ticket owners), asked my mother where my father was and made a joke about him always going golfing. Just wait. Following that, my mother introduced me to them as his daughter and the woman quickly let me know that she had previously met my mother, and felt like she is a ‘nice lady.’ I quickly made a ‘what the heck are you talking about’ face, smiled and said, ‘No, you didn’t, the woman next to me is my mother, I only have one.’
Now, the man that this lovely (but clueless, not knowing when to be quiet) woman was with gets red from embarrassment as he makes an “Oh my goodness” face. I quickly attempt to clear it up by saying or maybe projecting in an elevated tone at the possibility that someone (of whom I’ve never met) would impersonate my mother or promote herself to a position connected to me, ‘THEY ARE DIVORCED and THIS IS MY MOTHER.’
When I said, ‘DIVORCED’ these two young ladies sitting in front of us, probably age 18/19 turned around and looked at me in SHOCK…like I said something vulgar or just outright inappropriate for a public setting, and I realized divorce is still a bad word. They looked at me like they knew my story, felt my pain, thought my thoughts and identify with the struggle of rebuilding in a space that many never imagined the need.
To finish the story before I make a point, as the woman’s second attempt she says, ‘Well, then I met your stepmom, she hugged me and everything.’
Just so we are clear, I do not have a stepmom, I have not ever had a stepmom, I’m not opposed to one…but nevertheless, I do not have a stepmom and I will let you know if/when I do. The woman kept on making attempts, the man was still embarrassed and it was over after my mother (the one and only) fulfilled her request by giving her a hug, and we left.
See the thing is, divorce breaks up families that now need to be rebuilt, turns them into single-parent households (I don’t care how much parents attempt to compensate), it is different but it doesn’t erase our DNA. As much as kids (grown or adolescent) may try to avoid the behavior of their parents’ character for the sake of having our own, we can never escape it. As much as I am me, I will always be made from them.
As much as I know that I have healed and am still healing from it, bitter tones and responses like at the sporting event can easily leave my mouth and sit in my mind when I’m approached (in my present) by reasons that lead to divorce (the past).
While I know that divorce permits parents to be single, I must point out that it doesn’t excuse parents from being parents nor does it keep behavior from confronting their offspring. I’m not saying that parents should not enjoy moving on and forward but what I am saying is consider the fact that your kids are still yours.
The woman from the game did not mean any harm. But it served as a reminder that regardless of the need to rebuild in a space that I never thought it would be necessary, one day I will be faced with the decision of what type of spouse and parent I want to be, and how I want my kids to receive and be confronted by it.
Parents will forever be parents (I don’t care how grown we think we get), and divorce is still a bad word.
You haven’t heard about the aftermath of divorce until you’ve heard it from one of its kids…
My experience. My journey.
Lauren Alicia (Michigan native) is the author of “Dear Divorce, Thank You (Even Though I Hate You) Sincerely, My Parents’ Grown Kid: A Journey Of Hate, Healing And Understanding.” Alicia is a Parsons the New School for Design graduate, business/design enthusiast, blogger and collaborator, allowing her experiences to evolve into the reality she always imagined.
Article is by Lauren Alicia for Deardivorcethankyou.com