Letters to a Divorced Kid: Part I | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

February 16, 2012

Letters to a Divorced Kid: Part I

A few weeks ago, I shared that I had been doing a lot of thinking about divorce:  my own experience with my parent's divorce, the impact divorce has on our society and culture, but most importantly, the affect divorce has on kids.  I've felt led to post a bit on the topic, in hopes of ensuing discussion.

I have realized that most people have somehow been touched by divorce. Whether from a distance or very close and personal, no one who is touched by divorce comes out unscathed.  It's worth a conversation: how we've been affected, how we are still dealing with our own experiences, how we are healing, how we are not healing, how we can encourage others.

Not long ago, I wrote a letter to a young person very dear to me who is dealing with the divorce of his parents. My heart aches for all the kids whose lives are disrupted and futures are altered because their parents split up.  

Mainly because I was one of those kids.

So, I wanted to share the following letter.  It is similar to the one I wrote my young friend. And while it is aimed at kids - who often feel lost, confused and alone when dealing with divorce - I think it speaks to any of us who have faced divorce.  I'll share the letter in several parts over the next few weeks, as well as some memoir writings of my own experience in dealing with the divorce of my parents.  

I hope you'll read. But more so, I hope you'll share your stories, pass these stories along to those who need it, and be apart of the discussion. It is how we learn, grow and heal.

~ Steph


Dear Friend,

I know you don’t know me very well, but I grew up in a divorced family.  I was a little bit older than you, about 15, when I found out that my parents were going to get divorced.  I was absolutely devastated when I found out.  You see, I thought I had grown up with the “All-American Family.  And even though many of my friends had parents who had divorced, I did not think it was possible for divorce to happen to mine.  My parents did not fight much (not in front of me and my sisters, anyway).  So the news that my parents were going to get divorced came as a VERY big surprise.  

It’s funny, but I kind of knew something was up before they told me.  I was in 9th grade, and I distinctly remember that my parents were kind of being odd on Christmas morning.  My mom was sitting on one side of the room, my dad on the other. Not much talking was happening, and it did not feel very festive, despite the fact that it was Christmas.  We were all opening gifts and wrapping paper was everywhere, but something wasn’t right.

All of Christmas break, my parents did not talk.  My mom spent a lot of time in her room.  And my dad was on the phone a lot or out of the house. Finally, on New Years Eve, I asked my mom, “Is something wrong?  Are you going to get a divorce or something?”  I threw it out there, because it seemed ridiculous. But I wanted to ask, so she would say “NO. Of COURSE not.” Just to make myself feel better.  But she didn’t.  She said, “Maybe.”

And I felt like the world stopped. A few weeks later, I found out that my dad was leaving. And a few months after that, he finally did.  My mom fell apart. My dad grew cold and detached.  

And I was left to figure out the pieces.


More to come next week.  Check back on Tuesday for more of the Divorce Series.

1 comment :

  1. What is it about the dawn of a New Year? My parents separated for 5 years. It happened when I had just turned 20, January 98. I'm the oldest and I too didn't really see it coming. Similar thing with the Brady Bunch illusion. Little things seemed odd but not enough for me to think they needed this break. I anticipated divorce and prayed for years that they'd figure out their answer...some days I had even hoped as awful as divorce is, that they would just make a decision. Because the limbo was worse. They both fell apart and so did I in many ways at that crucial time in my life. More later....


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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