Senior Bree Soule’s reality of having divorced parents

Bree Soule, Online Editor-in-Chief

As a six-year-old girl, hearing the news of my parents divorce was shocking and like any six-year-old, I reacted by crying while also being confused on exactly what this meant. I don’t remember much of that day. I knew I was extremely upset that I wouldn’t have them both together anymore, but that’s about it. All I really understood was my parents wouldn’t be together anymore, but I didn’t think my world would change as much as it did. 

It started when it became time for my mom to move out. She chose to move closer to her family who lived about 30 minutes away. This was extremely hard on me when I had to switch schools and move away from my dad and my dad’s side of the family. I did get to see my dad still, but it was on a schedule. I would see him Tuesdays and every other weekend which couldn’t have been easy on him either. This is how I grew up for a good portion of my childhood. It’s a constant cycle of this day is my dad’s day while this day is my mom’s. This holiday is my mom’s day but this one is my dad’s.

Having divorced parents comes with a lot of other changes than simply my parents not being together anymore. For me, one of the worst downfalls is the going back and forth between them. While both of my parents live in Fenton now, it’s still hard constantly having to move stuff from one house to the other. My schedule with my parents now is Mondays, Tuesdays and every other weekend are my mom’s days while Wednesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend are my dad’s days. It hurts each time I have to leave, especially when I leave my dad’s because that’s where I feel most at home.

No matter what anyone says, each child with a divorced parent has a favorite house. It has nothing to do with the love I have for my parents because I love them both; it’s where I feel more comfortable and the most at home. For me, that’s with my dad because it’s just my dad, my dog and me. I’ve lived there for way longer than I have in my mom’s new house with, as she likes to call it, my “bonus family.”

Keeping track of the schedule has gotten fairly easy for me as I’ve dealt with it my whole life, but the actual back and forth part is what makes it difficult. I have to transfer my school stuff each time I switch houses— I have to transfer my computer and my work clothes. There have been so many times where I’ll forget my work shoes at my mom’s house then while I’m getting ready to leave for work at my dads, realize “Oh no, I forgot my shoes.” This is the biggest pain in the butt and I mean that sincerely.

Have you ever really wanted to wear a certain outfit one day only to realize it’s at the wrong house? That is the definition of my life. While that may not seem like a huge deal, when it’s a constant occurrence it begins to get frustrating. 

Having divorced parents is also difficult emotionally. With the schedule I have for seeing my parents, I have to leave my dad and my puppy for five days at a time. Then on the other side I have to leave my mom for five days. I always dread having to leave for so long and it makes me wish they were still together sometimes. The schedule we have is 50/50 custody, so I really only get to see my dad for half the year and my mom for half the year, even though my houses are only four miles apart. 

Having to leave each parent, whether it’s for a short period of time or not, is hard. I want to see my parents. I want to be able to talk to them both or even talk to them both about something important at the same time instead of having to wait then hearing, “Well why did you tell them and not me?” 

Holidays, while they have their perks of me having six Christmases, are awful because when it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving, how do they expect me to A) Choose between them or B) Just be okay with not seeing one side? But one of the hardest transitions I’ve had to deal with mentally is my mom’s remarriage. 

It’s very difficult having to accept someone into your family, especially at the age I was when they got married. No one can ever replace my dad and I don’t like feeling forced to accept this new life and new “family.” There’s nothing wrong with my stepfather, it’s just the fact that he’s not my dad. When you are forced to live with another set of people you don’t know much about, it can end up taking a toll on you and your relationship with your biological parent. My mom doesn’t like that I don’t consider them my family, but I had 16 years of my life without these people who were suddenly brought into my world. If it didn’t feel so forced by my mother, maybe it’d be different.

I feel bad sometimes because my stepfather is genuinely a good guy and I know he tries his best and cares about me. It’s just an odd circumstance in certain situations. I have ended up growing slightly closer to him over time, but nowhere near how close I am with my actual family— and that’s okay. He isn’t here to replace my family— if he was I don’t think I’d like him very much. He’s just an added person into my life who I do care about because I like him, he’s pretty cool. It’s just at my age, it’s not like I’m going to grow up and be super close with him and grow up with him as my family. I was 16 when they got married, at that point I was only two years away from my adult life. Things just aren’t the same that way.

Everything else I’ve talked about— the schedule, transferring houses— I’ve grown pretty numb to it as I’ve dealt with it my whole life. Yes, it’s horrible most of the time, but it ends up in frustration instead of sadness. It’s more of an “I’m sick of having to do this” than “I wish they would get back together.” 

It feels like I’ve only ever known my parents to be divorced because that’s all I remember. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine them being together at this point, I hardly have any memories of them actually still married. I’ve grown up like this, with this situation. But I am very grateful to still have both parents in my life as much as I do. Although they may not be together, they still work hard to support me and give me the love that every child deserves.