Growing up I had what seemed to be the perfect family.

Two loving parents, three siblings, a dog and a nice house. We were the perfect American dream.

It was a shock, yet not a shock when my parents split up after 20 years of marriage.

I’ve spent a good portion of the past 10 years being bitter that I no longer had the perfect family.

I’ve been mad on almost every holiday since. Mad that instead of having one house to visit I needed time for two.

Then I got married. This meant it wasn’t one family, or two families but three families that were vying for our time on holidays.

It made me mad.

I started to hate holidays. I no longer associated Christmas with the joy of Jesus’s birth or the excitement of opening presents, I associated it with spending half the day in the car and the other half saying sorry to relatives for having to rush out to the next family. No one seemed happy with us and truth be told I was angry inside that everyone couldn’t see how miserable it was for me and my family to spend time flitting from place to place never really getting to relax and enjoy the holiday.

Then I turned 30.

I’ve been trying to let go of controlling things and be a more go with the flow type of person. I’ve decided I can’t make everyone happy so I am just going to do my best to keep my little family of 5 happy and not worry so much about what everyone else thinks.

Still inside I held on to this anger. Any time a friend complained about their parents dropping by unannounced or their big family vacations – I wanted to yell at them and tell them they had no idea what they had and to be grateful because it can be taken from you in an instant. I wanted them to realize what they had. The truth is I now realize that part of me wanted to wallow in my sorrow  and lament that I would never again have a family vacation where both of my parents were there or that my parents didn’t just show up unannounced.

This morning as I got dressed for the day after my 9 mile run with my speedy friend – it hit me LIKE A TON OF BRICKS.

My parents might not be together anymore but what I have gained from this is MORE than I had before.

My dads wife is coming this morning to hang out with Colton and Miles while I get some errands done. She has been doing this for the past couple of weeks and just having a couple of hours to myself has been amazing. When you don’t have kids you don’t appreciate the little things as much – going to Starbucks alone – not having to fly through the grocery store because you have a kid screaming…….so to be able to get coffee ALONE is nothing short of amazing to me.

Today will be the first day however that not only is she coming and watching the boys for a little – but after that she is going to go volunteer at Chloe’s school. She will do this weekly.

I gained a women who cares DEEPLY about my children. Instead of feeling like I have TOO many people to see or keep happy – I’m going to focus on the fact that I have MORE people. More people who love me and my kids. More people to love and spend time with.

Even writing this out feels ridiculous to me. Why was I so focused on the negative aspects of divorce? Why could I not see that even sad things are often blessings in disguise. Why couldn’t I see that my parents were both happier and that it wasn’t meant to be. I see that now.


I have three families. Not one, not two, but three.

Chloe, Miles and Colton are lucky to have THREE grandmothers.

Why it’s taken me 10 years to finally see the bright side of my parents divorce – I don’t know – but I’m glad I’m seeing it now at 30 instead of 10 years from now at 40.

Life is all about perspective.

What today could you look at differently? Allow something you once viewed as negative to become a POSITIVE.


  1. Wonderful post. Turning moments that brought negativity into your life and seeing the positive aspect of them is so important. For me this was my rape at 16, which I almost died from and brought years of severe depression/suicide attempts. It also brought a lot of rebellion in my 20’s and a lot of non-love towards myself. However, before I got pregnant with my son at the age of 31 something clicked in me. Perhaps, it was having the massive support group (my husband, my mom, my sister, and my close friends) around me that had always believed in me. Or perhaps it was the fact I finally quit taking anti-depressants and learned to embrace the person my rape had made me into. A stronger woman. A woman who had faced many doors, but kept pushing forward. I stopped trying to be the old me and allowed myself to just be and embrace what my rape had taught me. That event created a Registered Nurse who loves their career and a woman who is not afraid to share her story so that others may feel less alone or learn from it. I stand 26 years after my rape a stronger, positive thinking, and open/honest person. I live each moment of this life without being the victim. Lovely post that you wrote. You are so correct in grasping the positive!! Embrace each moment.

  2. Jolene – I always love your comments but truth be told I never know what to say back. I do not understand your kind of strength. It is truly amazing and inspirational. I would hope that I could come back from something like that a stronger person but when I even think about the possibility of something like that happening it makes me sick to my stomach[I can’t even type the word because of how awful it is]. I guess that is why so many people probably suffer in silence. Your boldness and willingness to share your story is NOTHING short of INCREDIBLE. You are a rock star in my book. Turning the negative [is it even negative?!] of divorce into something positive seems absolutely nothing compared to what you have accomplished. I get teary just thinking about you. Hope you have an great day – YOU ARE AWESOME!

  3. My parents divorced when I was 6. I spent years being angry at my mother since it was her decision to leave my father and move in with someone else, and I felt like a pawn. The next 10 years of my life were very painful and at 16 I finally moved out and went to live with my father. Being a child of divorced parents is never easy, but it taught me a lot about the kind of parent I wanted to be. Like you, I have let go of the anger and resentment and feelings of “it’s not fair” but there will always be some sadness in my heart and my relationship with my mother will never be what I’d like it to be. C’est la Vie. On the bright side, I gained 2 wonderful stepsisters and have a lot of nieces!

  4. Do not get teary-eyed.:) I share my story simply because it is part of me. I have amazing people around me, especially my husband, who helped me truly see who I was. I also had my faith. I think God puts things in our life for a reason. It was a long journey. Along the way I have met other survivors and that is one reason I share my story because I have had many of them say to me “Hey, you helped me see it was okay to talk.”. We all have moments that create who we are. I tell my story not to make people uncomfortable, but to say “Hey, this is me and this is part of me. Love me for the quiet lady I am because of it. Give me time to lay my trust in your hands and warm up to you.”. That is why I always enjoy your blog because you speak with honesty. Your journey with divorce I am sure was a struggle just like mine with rape was. Emotional journeys are difficult no matter the journey entails.:)

  5. I totally relate to the negativity. My parents separated pretty much the day after I graduated high school and then later divorced. So it’s been about 10 years. I hate having double visits and double calls and they continue to banter over who gets to see me more. Both are single so I don’t have extra family as a result. I guess I’m still trying to figure out the positives to be honest.

  6. I have a hard time thinking you ever viewed much in life negatively! You are so positive most of the time. I am a divorced parent. And my now grown son tells me he is glad he grew up with me. He loves his birth father but he’s expectations of himself as a father are more concrete because of the path he has traveled this far. It is just as good a thing to know what you don’t want to be as it is to know what you want to be.

    Today I will focus on seeing the positives in our new location instead of comparing it to where we were.

  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I am guessing you wonderfully expressed what so many people think whose parents have divorced. I totally felt and sometimes still do feel the way you did. It is hard. My parents divorced when I was five and both were remarried by the time I was 8. It has taken me a lifetime, like 20 years to come to grips with managing it all. It is not an easy road. I certainly appreciate your encouraging words. You are quite blessed to have a wonderful “new” mom!

  8. This post really hits home for me. I married when I was 25 years-old and (long story), we ended up divorcing 7 years later. At that time, we had an amazing 5 year-old boy. My ex and I are very good friends, he lives just blocks from me and his new wife is a very close friend of mine. (I didn’t know her before but now we are very close.) After being an only child for almost 9 years, my son now has 5 little siblings under the age of 4! I have two and his dad has three little ones. We all get along so well that some years we have joint holidays and his stepmom and I have “art Fridays” where we get all the little ones together and do art projects together.

    I always think of the positive in that he has four parents who love him, lots of grandparents, more cousins and double the family vacations. Overall, it is such a great situation. But I know there must be things going on that he doesn’t talk to me about. Frustrations over always having to take things back and forth from one house to the other. Having to split holidays. Never being on a vacation (that he can remember) with both of his parents. I guess I don’t think about these things because it breaks my heart and I feel helpless to do anything about it. All I can do is give him the happiest life possible filled with as much love as I have to give within the confines of his family with me and my husband.

    I’m so happy to hear you are overcoming your anger and turning a negative into a positive. It is a good reminder to me that I need to check in with my son and see how he is feeling, specifically with regards to dealing with divorce. Thanks for this post, Dorothy!

  9. I am 34 yrs old. I had a rough childhood, teenage years and my early adult years were not the best. I found myself pregnant and married to a monster at 18. My eldest son passed away when I was 19 (he was 7 months old), I finally filed for divorce and felt like I hit rock bottom. All those negatives became positives (in a way). While I was in the process of my divorce, my high school sweetheart got in touch with me. :) We rekindled our relationship. We’ve been married for 8 years, together for 12 and have 2 beautiful children, and our fuzzball dog. I was actually thinking about this the other day. Had all of the above not happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am married to my best friend, who has given me 2 awesome kids that I adore. I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom to them as well, my dream job since I was 5. I discovered running almost 3 years ago (though I am benched for 2 weeks for tendinitis now), and exercise. Life is good, even when things suck, as long as I have my family it’s all good. :) Have a great day!

  10. Once again, you write a beautiful post that shakes me to the core. I too am the child of divorce. I wish we could have connected in VA. I have so much empathy Dorothy. My response requires me to sit down and really take the time to express that empathy. I have kids that need to go to school, but I want you to know you are not alone. I have gone through times of anger and times clarity. It is like a marathon, we can let the evil voices take over and tell us how awful this is we need to learn to embrace the pain. The pain will always be there but “we run our minds” thank you for that quote. We can’t control that our parent are no longer together however, we can control what we do with our feeling regarding it. Acknowledge the pain because it is real and hurts and then learn to manage it. The pain, like a wave in the ocean, will come in and when it does, learn to surf that wave the way you so brilliantly run it in your marathons. Then after you have riden the wave of pain, you must let it go back out to sea. The pain will come again, this you can be sure of, but having the awareness and knowing what to do with it, could be the single most powerful tool you can have. Sending you a gigantic hug from your SoCal divorced child runner girl sister.

  11. Great post! It took me a long time to see the bright side of my parents’ divorce, too.

  12. My parents are NOT divorced but I still felt the same about our every week schedule. Dinner with parents one night per week, dinner with grandparents, Wednesday lunch, Sunday brunch I wanted to go to everything and always felt guilty for not being able to go. Same thing with my great big group of friends. I felt bad and guilty anytime I had to say no. I was working full time -I had a baby and instead of feeling grateful I felt even more overwhelmed by the social schedule.

    My husband got a job transfer in another state. I decided to be a stay at home mom but I find myself missing my family and friends kicking myself for feeling stressed over our packed social schedule when none its non existent.

  13. Great post! I feel the same way, growing up my parents were fighting a lot and got divorced when I was 20 (after 28 years of marriage) and it is tough now. I don’t like my dad’s new girl friend, she used to be my mom’s best friend. It’s all weird and the family dynamics is bad. Hardly anybody speaks to my dad and I miss having a family :(

  14. This is such an awesome reminder of taking things that can be seen as negative and turning them into some positive. It is good to realize it, no matter how long it takes!

  15. I always love your posts and that you are able to share emotions so many of us feel. I am so glad you were finally able to turn the “negative” around to the “positive”. But I must confess, your post brought tears to my eyes because I realized I am still very angry that I can’t spend another holiday with my Dad. That once again this Christmas he won’t be there. That the last Christmas I “had” with him was just over the computer through a video chat. But you are right…I need to move beyond that and see what I do have. Great friends here that have become like a family to my family. My daughter may not have a granddad anymore and her Grandma may be across the ocean but she has an “auntie” and “uncle” that she loves so much that she wanted to give them a Grandparent’s Day card she made in school. I have so many good people in my life and I need to appreciate sharing days and holidays with them versus yearning for holidays of the past.

  16. I love this post today, I am glad that you realized how much you have, because I would kill to have this, since my mother in law passed 6 years ago and my father in law remarrying, I could count on how many fingers they make time to see my children. It got to the point they only saw them at Christmas and birthday parties. In fact that is still how it is, him and his current wife , saw them once when they were born and now only at Christmas or birthday’s. My parents are the grandparents my children REALLY know and who is a constantly in the lives on a daily basis. We have asked for them to see them but really we were asking too much. So I am glad you are enjoying it like you should. I am truly happy for you.

  17. I really relate to this post. My parents divorced after 25 years of marriage! I was 19. And the holidays quickly turned into a difficult time. My mom and dad both quickly remarried, and my sister got married. So everyone had their own new family, and I felt like the odd man out. Glad to see that you have changed your perspective on this. It took me awhile to be comfortable with it and let go of the anger.

  18. Thank you…

  19. as a stepmother who only wants to love her stepchildren and step-grandchildren, thank you. i know i have interrupted their lives in ways they did not expect. i only want to know my stepfamily, to watch them develop into amazing human beings. i have nothing to give them except love, even when they are mad that i exist.

  20. Great post Dorothy….very relate-able story. whew, I started to write my own story here, and it turned into a whole therapy session. haha. love your blog!

  21. :)

  22. Great post! My parents divorced when I was 3 so I don’t really remember things any other way. What made it hard on me was they always made me decide who to be with for which holidays, etc. I always felt torn for one reason or another. But it didn’t take me long to realize (maybe a young teen) that they were both so much happier with the people they are with now. I just had my 30th birthday on Sunday and for the first time since I was maybe 5, I had both “sides” there. My mom (and step-dad) came to a party hosted by my dad for me. My mom is going through treatment for breast cancer so she couldn’t do much for me herself, but it all worked out just great. It was really special.

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