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Bag Children This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Bag children. That's what we are, my sister and I. Our parents are divorced, you see, and have joint custody of us. It seemed perfect at first, since we could spend an equal amount of time with each parent. But soon it lost its novelty. Every month, or sometimes even more often if my father goes on a business trip, we have to pack up and move from one house to the other. Do you know how hard it is to try to pack up your entire life and fit it into half of the car trunk? (Besides, I can't stand packing anyway!) Once we've moved for the month (especially during the school year when we're busy with other stuff), we often have no time to unpack. We virtually live out of our bags.

Since we can never put down real roots at either house, it sometimes seems that we are homeless and just moving from shelter to shelter. Which address do I give new pen pals, or friends I make at summer camp? With my father traveling so often, a friend could leave a message on his answering machine that might not reach me for a week or more.

Then there's the problem of rules, like curfew and phone time. Each household has a different set, so if I make a date with a boyfriend for a Friday night, the plans may be ruined when I find that I'll be at my father's house and he doesn't want me out of the house unless he has met my date - even though my mother has already met and approved of him. Or if I move during a crisis with my boyfriend (who lives in another town and consequently is someone to whom I talk mostly by phone), discussions become even more difficult when my allotted phone time is cut by a third.

Moving even affects my school work. I may be in the middle of a huge term paper - on the computer, mind you - when I have to switch houses. Then I have to type the entire paper onto the other computer, since the two computers are incompatible (almost like my parents, I like to think).

But I have to admit there are a few good points about having two homes. If I get in a fight with one parent, I can sometimes move to the other house. Also, since each parent has a different set of values, I can sometimes get away with something the other parent wouldn't allow. Altogether, I guess we're not too much worse off than kids whose parents are still together. But I still hate packing!


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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