Torn In Two

My parents divorced when I was around 4 years old. At such a young age, my split parents appeared to be a normal part of my reality. I wasn't aware why they divorced or even if it was abnormal--it just seemed like the way things were supposed to be.

Fortunately for me, my parents loved me and my brother enough to set aside their feelings for each other, and I was able to see each of them equally. They always supported me, cared for me, and did the most to be a part of my life. I thought, at one point, that their divorce had no impact on my life.

But, as I get older, I realize the pain that comes from separation lingers, casting a wide shadow into the future.

Often times, I feel torn between them. Torn between their opinions, torn between who I should spend breaks with, torn between whose "side" I should take on a family matter. Though I know in the end it wasn't their intention to give me this burden, it sits with me still. It hurts the most when you feel like you have to choose between which parent to "love," or when you haven't loved one enough. Even today, I feel terrible applying (or not applying) to an internship that will keep me close to one parent and far from the other.

And there's also the pain of hearing one parent berate the other behind their back. I am thankful I don't need to witness fights firsthand, but secondhand conflicts, the sarcastic remarks or harsh judgements from one parent to the other still hurt me.

To parents, loving each other is often the best thing you can do for your children. It doesn't mean you have to stay together, but don't make negative remarks about the other. Your child sees the best in both of you and loves both of you even if you and your partner do not feel the same. You will always be their parent, their guardian, their shelter, their teacher, their haven... and so will your partner. You might be separated, but your child is still connected to both of you.

To kids going through this, know that you are not alone and that your parents are people too. Deeply hurt, deeply broken, deeply challenged, but people nonetheless and people who love you. Separation will bring change. It may make it hard to trust, it may feel like you can't do enough, but know you don't have to hold this family on your shoulders. Continue in love for both of your parents and don't ever feel guilty when you feel a pull between the two of them.

Even though the tear is painful, I am glad I feel it because it means that my heart is with both of my parents. Because where there is a pull, there is a connection. Splitting up doesn't mean breaking down. You will get through this.