My parents divorced when I was seven.
Wait… actually… I have no idea WHEN they divorced. The accurate statement would be… the announcement of the divorce happened when I was seven.
My childhood before seven was somewhat innocently happy. I remember Dad teaching me how to play “cat’s cradle“ and Mom bringing home the most amazing birthday cakes. But what’s interesting is, I don’t remember much of anything about my family life between the ages of seven and twelve. I have NO MEMORIES of home life in that 5 year life span.
Uh… therapy anyone? Yeah… don’t worry… I’m on that like a fat kid on a box of ding-dongs.
Let’s back up a bit: The day my mother told us they were divorcing, I remember feeling EXTREMELY confused.
I was old enough to know what “divorce” meant, but I never heard OR saw my parents fight. Heck… I barely remembered ever seeing them talk. I never thought the divorce was my fault, but I didn’t know WHY they needed a divorce since everything seemed “fine”. What confused me even more was why my Mom pulled us three girls into my bedroom to tell us ALONE when my Dad was sitting right in the living room watching football. “Isn’t this something they should be doing together?” I kept asking myself.
It felt like an hour had passed in that room. I didn’t hear a thing that was said. I remember my sister, Renee, crying and my baby sister, Helen, crawling all over the place. That baby had no clue our world was about to drastically change. All I wanted to do was get OUT of that room and jump into my Dad’s lap.
Once the “meeting” was over… I did just that.
My sister, Renee, and I ran and jumped into my Dad’s lap. I remember Renee asking him,
“Why, Daddy?… WHY? Why are you leaving us?”
Then I heard the words I would never forget:
“Because this is what your Mom wants.”
Then, the unimaginable happened. My Dad broke down and cried…
I had NEVER seen my Dad cry. NEVER…
in the center of the couch of our family room…
with football television as a faint background noise…
in my father’s lap for the very last time.
Something inside me died that day.
At age seven, sitting there for the last time ever in my Daddy’s lap, I made my first lifetime decision:
I was NEVER going to let anyone make decisions like this for me.
NO ONE would ever make me cry again.
And this ONE single decision ruled my life for the next 23 years…