Children seem to live in a fairy tale. Everything is black and white. Adults are superheroes; everyone lives “happily ever after”. Children are very lucky in that way. But then, they grow up. It seems to me that there is one event, one specific event that shocks all children into adulthood. For me, this event was my parents’ divorce.
It is not surprising that my parents are divorced, as it is commonly known that about 50% of marriages end this way. To me, though, my situation was completely unique. This divorce came at a time in my life when things were very unstable. I had started high school in a new school district so I knew no one. I was very shy with low self-esteem. For the only constant in my life, my family, to change caused utter chaos.
I still remember that grey Monday morning, and the golden days leading up to it. I felt like I held the world in my hands the previous Friday, which is rare for a shy freshman. I had been cast in the school musical, and had even made my class laugh during a history presentation. The weekend was dreamlike in its perfection. Seeing my older brother prepare for his first formal was like Cinderella preparing for the ball. I looked forward to a free day Monday because it meant sleeping in, and yet, my parents were somehow able to take this perfect weekend and transform it into the darkest milestone of my life.
My parents had been talking about the “family meeting” we were to have. It wasn’t unusual; we had family meetings all the time. Finally, Monday morning, my parents sat us down to discuss whatever it was. My brother, still groggy from the dance, stumbled through the doorway. Clouds were out, so a grey light was pouring in from our numerous windows. I sat next to my father, who was hugging me tightly. I suspected nothing, at least until my father muttered the first words. In that moment I flashed back to a time when I was really young. I was asking my father “are you and mommy going to get a divorce?” I never actually thought they would, I just wanted attention. And now, hearing these words from my father’s mouth, my question seemed prophetic.
“I don’t mean to steal mom’s thunder, but I want you to know that we will love you no matter what.”
I tuned out the rest. I saw my brother begin to sob. He got snot all over my mom’s paisley pillows. My two oldest siblings sat silently. I ran out of the room. I could not handle it any more.
It’s amazing how those words changed my world forever. Those words led to my depression, my blaming of my mother, and my fairy tale world being shattered.
This is not a sob story though. You see, it was this event that catapulted me into adulthood I and ultimately shaped the person I am today. It was these words that led me to developing an even better relationship with my mother, and an understanding of depression to help my friends out of their worst times. It was these words that shook me of my naïve nature. I finally began to understand that this world is not a fairy tale. This is how I grew up. This is my coming of age story.