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Who Do I Choose?
Growing up I had always had friends whose parents were either divorced or going through a divorce. I knew it was something very had for my friends to go through, but I could never really understand the hardship behind it, no matter how hard I tried. Divorce was just something that hadn’t affected my family, and something I never thought would.
Unfortunately, I was wrong because the summer before I entered my sophomore year of high school, my mom told me she was filing for a divorce. I was stunned, shocked, and at a loss for words. I just didn’t know how to respond. I never had been in a situation like this before. So I did something I had done since I was a kid. I just cried, and cried, and cried, until tears could no longer form from my eyes. That didn’t really help though because I was still very confused and, in a way, in denial.
The whole divorce in itself kind of sprung on my whole family like it had on me. Know one knew it was coming, not even my father. Seeing my dad’s reaction to my mom’s request for a divorce helped me understand that it was one of the hardest things my dad ever had to hear. So he did what he thought was best. He tried to win her back. My parents talked a lot about their relationship over the last few months of summer. My dad did everything he could think of. He wrote her letters, showered her with jewelry and flowers, and even bought her a puppy, which my brother, sister and I enjoyed more than she had. Yet, there was just no turning back for mom. She had made up her mind, and what she wanted was a divorce.
At the time, and at the level of my own immaturity, I grew a hatred for my mom. I just couldn’t understand why she wasn’t trying to fix things like my dad was. Didn’t she want the family to stay together? Didn’t she want everything to be ok, and pretend this all hadn’t happened? I’ve come to realize as I’ve grown, that it was just something she had to do for herself. She just couldn’t pretend she was happy anymore and keep living a life she truly disliked. Not that she disliked me or my siblings; she just couldn’t deal with her and my father’s relationship anymore. They had been married fifteen years and I later realized many of those years were spent unhappily by my mom. My parents’ relationship just hadn’t been enjoyable anymore. She tried many times to work things out between herself and my father, but nothing seemed to change. This was just something she needed to do for herself. And for my father, my family, and I, we just had to understand.
As the months dragged on, nothing had really changed. My whole family still lived together in our house, and life was pretty much the same. Except now, tensions were at an all time high between my parents. They were fighting non stop and screaming at the top of their lungs at one another, right in front of me and my siblings. But as this became a routine, we all got used to it. The constant fighting, arguing, screaming, slamming doors, you get the picture. Our family was just falling to pieces, and there was no stopping it.
One day my mom and I were talking about the whole situation when she asked me a question. Before it happened, I never thought that it would be a question which contained a decision that would ultimately leave me torn for much of my life. “Liz, which parent do you want to live with?” Now if we take a few steps back, and say this was happening to someone else, I would have never thought it was that hard of a question. It’s simple, “who do you like more?” Well let me tell you, when you’re in the situation and going through everything I was going through with my family, it ended up being one of the hardest decisions of my life. I realized, it’s really not “well who do you like more..?”
Coming to a decision about which parent I wanted to live with was something I struggled with for awhile. I just kept going back and forth. I would name the pro and cons of both. I’d say, well I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and I guess I have a closer relationship with him. He’s a sensitive person who always shows just how much he cares about me. Whenever I get hurt, he comes running to the rescue. He’s my superhero. And then, I’d say that my mom is pretty much supermom. She’s been there in my life for every step of the way, raising me for 17 long years. She bought me my first Barbie, taught me how to ride a bike, and cleaned my cuts and bruises when I fell off. She took me to every one of my doctor’s appointments.
You see, when I was two years old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was a hard thing for both my parents to hear and deal with. But we managed to do it, and without my mom, I don’t know how I would have gotten through everything: all the doctors, medication, therapy, shots, everything. She was by my side through it all. And through all this we formed a special bond. I told her everything, from the first boy I liked to the first bad thing I did. And she was always there with just the right advice. So, like my dad, I had formed a very special bond with my mom.
Due to my strong relationships with both of my parents, it made it so hard to choose who I wanted to live with. It is like asking a kid, “which one do you want, a candy bar or a cookie?” You can’t pick; it’s just too hard! Well, after many months of debating I was leaning toward my dad. You see, when this whole divorce happened, my dad and I formed an even stronger relationship because we shared many of the same feelings. We both didn’t want our family to break apart. Both of us didn’t want this divorce to happen, and we both just wanted this nightmare to end. We told each other everything we felt, and gave each other words of comfort. I wanted my daddy to feel better and for everything to be better and he wanted the same for me. It really was the hardest thing either of us has had to experience.
Ultimately, I ended up moving in with my dad to a new house he got so that he and my mom would stop fighting. It wasn’t healthy for them or us. And it was something that me and my siblings did not need to be surrounded by 24-7. When I got out of my old house, in a way I felt a relief of stress fly off my shoulders. I felt so good to be away from the fighting, arguing, and sense of total unhappiness. I felt free, like I could do anything. And I guess because I was feeling all these things it meant I had made the right decision.
Choosing my dad was very hard on my mom. She hated the fact that I was living with my dad, and she thought she’d never see me again. But in the end leaving only made our relationship stronger. You see, like I said before I grew very angry with my mom through this whole divorce and I got to a point where I thought I never wanted to talk to her again. Everything she said bugged me. And we just completely disagreed on everything. But once I left, our relationship slowly started to work its way back. I would go back to my old house periodically to see my sister and my mom, visit and talk. And after awhile, I started letting some of the hatred drift away. We started talking more and arguing less. Everything seemed to be going good.
Today I am still happy with the decision I made. My relationships with both of my parents are good and I couldn’t be happier. Losing my family was hard, but what I gained was better. My relationships with everyone in my family are stronger than before and maybe it it’s because of all we’ve gone through together. We’ll always be together- maybe not in the same form anymore-but in our hearts.