Last year, in a response to a post my friend Billy Coffey wrote entitled The luckiest boy in the world, I wrote a post about my own personal experience with the aftermath of divorced parents. My parents’ divorce was extremely painful for everyone involved, but I still maintain that I’m a better for experience, even though I would never wish it on anyone:
“Not all children of divorce live their lives as victims. Some of us are stronger for it, because we had a parent who didn’t allow their circumstances to dictate whether or not they did the right thing. They did right thing despite their circumstances.”
When we’re going through the dark places, it’s so difficult to see the clarity of light they may someday bring to us.
A few months ago, my daughter told me that the parents of one of her best friends were getting a divorce. While I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised given the divorce rate in this country, I was. I know them to be a close family who love their three children very much. When my daughter told me of the divorce, she told me she didn’t know why her parents were getting a divorce and that she didn’t feel right asking. I told her that was okay, that if her friend wanted to talk about it she would. But her most important role as a friend right now is just to be there, to show her friend that even if her immediate future may be filled with inconsistencies and unknowns, her friendship remains a constant.
There have been many times over the past few months when her friend will call and ask to come over, and each time we pick her up. Sometimes for a sleepover, sometimes just for a few hours. I don’t think she’s escaping anything more dubious than the sadness that comes from knowing the house she’s grown up in will soon belong to another family. I think she just wants to be free of the big, heavy, grown-up worries that 10 year old girls shouldn’t have to carry. Even if it’s just for a little while. Without fail, when we drop her back off at home we tell her she is always welcome at our house.
The greatest gift of my own personal experience with divorce is the ability to pass on my empathy and compassion to my daughter without her having to go through that particular dark place herself.
And I would never know the beautiful clarity of that particular light had I not gone through my own darkness.