Coping With Change This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a snowy December day. I was driving the couple of miles to my father's house; it was my weekend to stay with him. As I approach-ed the door, I heard my little brother screaming and saw him chasing the dog around the house. This transition between homes has become familiar to me.
Eight years might not seem that long, but it was an entirely different world then. I can't say that I remember much from my early childhood, but I know I was a happy, loved little girl.
I sat in the sun room with my big brother. He was sitting on the bright blue bean bag chair, playing Nintendo, and I was trying to figure out what that big, funny, monkey-shaped figure sitting on the shelf was.
"Could you come here for a minute?" my mother called to us from the living room. "Your father and I would like to talk to you."
The minute I heard her voice, I knew it was something terrible. My parents sat at opposite ends of the couch. I crawled onto my mother's lap and by watching my parents' faces I felt growing panic.
I don't remember how they told us, but I do know that I cried a lot. Nothing horrible had ever happened to me and I was confused. I didn't understand why my short life of seven years had to be disrupted. I hadn't learned how to accept change, or realized that there were other lives and lifestyles. For some reason, I thought that my parents wouldn't go through with the separation and that it was all just a terrible dream. I soon realized that it was harsh reality.
My father had it all planned. We would have a "make your own pizza night" and a "stay up as late as you can" night. I now realize he was trying to give my brother and me something to look forward to. I wasn't naive and I knew that staying up until midnight when you're seven years old doesn't make up for having your parents in two different households.
I'm fairly sure it was the next day that my father left. We were sitting on the couch and I watched him carry his bags out of the house. My heart was broken. I had never felt so awful.
My parents were always friendly, not like some divorcees who never speak to each other. I remember that soon after he left, my father would visit and they would talk on the porch for hours.
One night, my mom and dad came inside, announcing that they wanted to talk to us. As I played with my tinker toys, they told us they were going to try to make things better and get back together. In a way, I was mad at them. I was just starting to adjust and had even come home from a weekend with my dad without crying. All I could reply was with an "Oh."
"Aren't you excited?" my mom asked.
"I guess so," I replied.
I didn't want to make my dad feel bad or like I didn't love him. They separated again and eventually got a divorce. I was always told that what happened wasn't my fault, but I always felt the burden of my parents' feelings. I would feel awful when I left my dad because I knew he was lonely. I didn't realize, though, that he was big enough to take care of himself. While most people think that the child is most concerned with his or her own feelings, I could never stop worrying about how my parents felt every time I left one of them.
Sometimes, I feel that what happened was too much for a child to handle. I know that I made out all right as a result of my parents' love. I always knew that there was someone to talk to whenever I needed it. I feel that I'm a stronger person now. I know the difference between a small matter and a real problem, and don't let little things bother me.
My relationship with my brother is also strong. He was one of the only things that remained the same. Wherever I was, at my mom's or my dad's, he was there with me and went through the same things I did. Nobody else really could understand just how I felt.
I've realized that, in life, some things can be changed and some cannot. I would cry when I left my dad's house until I was eleven. One Christmas, my mom gave me a bookmark with a quote I found to be very significant and valuable. It goes:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
I couldn't change my situation and I learned to accept it. Although it was tough, I consider myself lucky that my parents divorced when I was so young. Unlike my brother, I only have fragmented memories of them together.
I realize that something good did come out of my parents' relationship: my brother and me. My dad remarried and I now have a little brother. He's two years old and means the world to me.
As I drive to and from my dad's house every other weekend, I don't think twice about it; I couldn't imagine my parents living in the same house at this point. I consider myself lucky for what I do have and wouldn't wish for it any other way. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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