By GRIFFIN MITCHELL
CARDINAL NEWMAN HIGH SCHOOL, 16
Seven years old can be a very critical age in a human’s life. It is the year we graduate from first grade to second grade. It also may be the year when you first participate in a sport or activity that will shape your future, but for me it was the age when my parents decided they would lead separate lives.
I grew up like any average boy, attended a good preschool, participated in sports and had good friends and a good community surrounding me. My parents, as I recall, were always in a good mood with each other and shared the joy of raising their son together. I have few memories of the bad times my parents had or hearing them argued. The worst memory I recall is lying in my bed one night when I was 7 years old and having my parents come in to my room and my father saying, “Griffin, your mother and I are getting a divorce.”
My immediate reaction was a natural instinct for a young child, which was to blame myself. Suddenly, I was now the minority at school because the majority of my peers had both parents in a relationship still.
According to U.S. Attorney Legal Services, only 50 percent of marriages will carry on without divorce. In my life, Malcolm Gladwell would refer to this as the “Tipping Point.” This is a term defined as, “The name given to that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once.” I could either blame the separation of my parents on myself by telling myself that if I was a better kid or if I would have asked them for less, they might still be together. Or I could take the positive road, which would be wanting the best form of happiness for my parents, and, obviously, they were not going to be happy if they had to suffer through their arguments or problems.
A few years down the road, probably when I was around 12 years old, was more of an emotional phase for me. My mother met my soon-to-be stepdad, Edward. They got married in 2004. It was awkward at first, seeing my mother with another man and, basically, having a second father, although I never looked at him in that sense. I just saw him as a third parent and not a second dad.
My father, on the other hand, remained single and tried new combinations to find the right spouse and, naturally, I always had faith he would find the right woman.
Before and during my mother and father’s marriage, they were best friends, and that is the way they decided to keep it even after their divorce. I benefited in pretty much every way imaginable from my parents being close. Both of them would always attend my sporting events, and they would always communicate in a friendly manner regarding raising me. When it came to which parent I spent more time with, they divided the time up evenly.
Who would have thought that a negative event would lead to a series of positive events? Today, my mother has been married to my stepdad for about six years and my father is going to marry his fiancee soon. I currently have my own car, and I am still able to divide my remaining time as a teenager and high school student evenly with my parents.
The best advice I can give to someone whose parents may be divorcing is to not assume the worst. Sometimes things work out for the better, and when your parents are happy, your home life is happier too. The bottom line is that parents want to see their children happy, as well, and it is hard to raise a happy child if you are not happy yourself.
Even though you may have the hassle of two households, the most important thing is being loved and loving your family. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and you never know when things might change. We should live our lives grateful for the positive things in life, then you won’t put so much emphasis on the negative things.