Home is where the heart is. But what if your heart is in two different places?
My parents divorced when I was three years old. From a young age my life has been divided along with my clothes, toys, and most importantly my time. In my case it was not the divorce itself that made me miserable. I had accepted that my parents weren’t together anymore. They weren’t happy, and I knew that if they had stayed together it would still be that way. No, what hurt was the holidays. As humans we always want what we can’t have. Even though I knew the divorce was for the best, watching other kids with a whole family made my heart hurt. There was a hole in my life I could never fill. I was scrambling just to fit everyone in, and for other kids it was just so easy. It was all planned out for them by their parents. Christmas morning with was the hardest. No matter who you spent it with someone gets hurt. No matter how fair it is, there is still one person left out.
Getting older doesn’t make it any easier. Responsibilities come and decisions have to be made. When you realize that they’re doing Christmas morning with your little sister without you hurts. But your mom only does Christmas morning every year and for the rest of the day you’re with your dad so you just have to get over it. From now on you will never get to see your little sister open up her stoking on Christmas morning. Those are the kind of decisions you have to make. Half of you is here and the other half is wishing you could be there too.
No one is there to hold your hand and walk you through it. You have to do it on your own. Mom and dad love you, but sometimes they don’t understand.
When your parents are divorced you have to grow up a lot faster than you should.
But it’s not just hard on the kids. I’m not a parent myself, but I know that my mom had to sit through many Christmas mornings alone without me. My dad also got his share of lonely holidays. But even years later when they both got remarried and were happy, it still wasn’t the same. My dad had another baby girl but that doesn’t mean he didn’t want me there too. But he has more than one child to think about. I understand why he made the decision to open stockings without me. I’ll open my stocking later in the day when I get to come for the rest of the day. But it still won’t be the same not opening them together.
While I was sitting here thinking about this decision I realized I’m not alone. According to the American Psychological Association 90% of Americans are married by age 50. But 40-50% of those couples end up getting a divorce. Chances are half of you out there reading this are from are divorced or are from a divorced home.
It’s not easy, and I understand. I know it’s not much, but it’s more than anyone else told me. There were years my parents didn’t make it easy. I know now that it wasn’t easy for them either. But I still felt alone and sad seeing my parents hurting and feeling like it was my fault. I still feel that way sometimes. So for all of you out there going through the same thing every year,
I salute you. I respect you for making the decision no one should ever have to make. Choosing between two people you love is the hardest decision. There is no easy way out, and there isn’t any way to go around it. But you survive every year. Not just Christmas but every other major holiday. If you don’t celebrate Christmas then Cuanza, Hanukah, or anything else that applies to you.
Just know that you are not alone. Show love as much as you can because that’s what Christmas is all about (and Jesus’s birth of course). I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. 🙂