Day 8: How would things be different if…?

8. Imagine how your life would be different if a particular significant moment/detail in your life was altered or never happened.

My parents began their divorce shortly after I was born and finalized it by the time I was two years old, with my mom being awarded full custody. From what I understand (I’ve never really talked to my mom about why they got divorced, and it’s an even more sensitive subject since he died), my dad was a bit to immature for marriage and parenthood at the time. I’ve heard that he passed up some good opportunities, quit a good job without any other employment, and forced my mom to take on too many responsibilities just to keep the family afloat. My mom is not the most sympathetic person in the world and certainly would not have had the patience to wait for him to be ready. I know they got along later on after the divorce, but I think they mostly were after different things in life. Maybe immature is too harsh, but I don’t think he was ready to be as responsible as a family demanded of him. After, he went on to different dead-end jobs and living with family members or girlfriends for a few years. When I was about eleven, he got re-married and seemed to be getting things together finally. Looking at it that way, I can’t blame my mom for divorcing him, but I wonder a lot about what growing up with both parents would have been like.

First off, I don’t think my brother and I would have spent so much time in daycare if both parents were around to play babysitter and chauffeur. I stayed in Kinder Care for every summer and every day after school until middle school. And I never participated in many clubs/extracurriculars/sports during school because I didn’t have any way to get home. All of the other moms could come pick up their kids after school and come support them at any events. But mine was always at work until five o’clock at an office an hour’s drive away. A lot of my relationship issues probably stem from never seeing my mom or dad in healthy long-term relationships. I’ve always been more content to be alone because that’s what I’ve seen. With two parents to talk to and prod about my well-being, I’d probably be less closed off about my feelings. My mom was always too practical and busy with work, and again, personal stuff isn’t her strong suit. Lastly, I know I’d be closer with my dad’s side of the family. Honestly, I have no relationship with any of them. They felt like they couldn’t interact with me or my brother, even though my dad’s sister is my godmother. 

All that said, I don’t wish my life was any different. I didn’t actually experience the divorce. As far back as I can remember, it’s only been my mom raising me and I have a bond with her now that I wouldn’t know if things were any different. She was the only person I could rely on. If you couldn’t tell, I’m the one who came up with today’s topic and I had a bit of an idea of what I wanted to write about. Being the child of a single parent is something that completely shaped who I am in every single way possible. I look at families with two parents and it seems foreign. My dad visited every other week when I was very young, and only on special occasions as I got older. I hadn’t even seen him in a few years when he died. I didn’t suffer through a divorce like most kids, but I never really had a father figure either. I’m not sure which is worse. I’ll wonder about it for the rest of my life though, trying to figure out if I missed out some foundational family necessities of life, or if I was the lucky one to never know it at all.

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