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  • I don't remember my mom and dad together, even though they separated when I was nine years old. You'd think I'd remember something. But no, nothing. I don't know if that's my brain's way of shutting out bad memories or if there was just nothing special to remember. What I can remember quite vividly is finding out they were separating. My mom received a letter from my dad's lawyer. She was beside herself with grief and anger. She told me she never wanted to see his face again. This wasn't an easy thing for a nine year old to hear about her father, the love of her life.

    The months leading up to the separation I had spent countless nights sleeping head to head with my dad on the couch. I believed him when he told me that he was sleeping on the couch so his beeper would not wake up my mom. I didn't think twice about what his sleeping on the couch really meant. I remember one night waiting up for him on the couch. 1 am, 2 am, 3 am...the hours ticked on and no sign of my dad. In the morning, groggy and exhausted, I told my brother that our father had not come home that night and that I'd stayed up all night waiting for him. My brother, in what I'm sure was an effort to protect me, told me it was impossible to stay up all night and that he was sure Dad had come home and just left early before I woke up. I was doubtful.

    Pretty soon after my dad moved out, he introduced us to a new woman. She was young, 14 years older than my brother. She was pretty and I wanted her to like me so my dad would be happy with me. I was always polite, never disrespectful. I didn't love the idea of my dad with another woman but I did want him to be happy. What scared me more than anything was the idea of him forming a new family and having a child. I made him promise me he would never have another child, after all, I was the youngest and the only girl; I wanted it to remain that way.

    When I turned 11 my dad married Lisa. I cried during the ceremony, my dad thought they were tears of joy. A few years later my dad came over to tell me that Lisa was pregnant. To this day I have the journal entry from my diary where I circled the tears that were falling from my eyes. It was the hardest news I had ever gotten. I would no longer be the youngest and my dad would now have his own little family outside of our own.

    When Chase was born my mom called my dad and asked if she could bring me to the hospital. Despite what she had felt when they had separated, she set herself aside to do what was right. She brought me there and from the moment I held Chase in my arms I was in love. I had thought it was the end of the world until I met my little brother. Soon after, Lisa and Dad asked my mother to be the godmother of Chase. I'm still not sure how they came to this decision but my mom was honored. She took her role very seriously and soon we were all taking family vacations together and spending every holiday together as one big functionally dysfunctional family.

    I give my parents, especially my mom, a lot of credit. They set aside their feelings about each other, realizing they didn't work as a couple, and focused on making it work as one big family. They did what was best for their kids. I always feel so sorry for my friends who have divorced parents who avoid each other at all costs, who can't be in the same room together without nearly killing each other. I'm lucky because my parents recognized the importance of what they made together regardless of what did and didn't work. It has made my life and my brother's life a lot easier.
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