If it is possible for a child of divorce to feel lucky – I am that child.

I would say I even felt privileged.

There was absolutely no self-pity.

And most of the pain simultaneously dried with the tears of a five-year-old girl bidding farewell to her dad.

 I won’t lie. It was heartbreaking. Every child wants their parents to stay together. And there were many days I would sit and hope he would walk back through that door. I was so young it made it all the more confusing. I really didn’t understand why he left or where he went.

Yet I am fortunate to say this did not define me but rather shaped me. 

My mother made up for his absence.

She made it very clear I wasn’t only loved, I was her whole world. And rather than focus on the negative of divorce she actually turned it into a positive. God was giving me the life He intended for me. There was nothing to feel sorry about. I was loved, I was special, God had plans for me.

And I bought it hook, line and sinker.

So much so, in my twenties, I was shocked when someone said they felt sorry for me because I didn’t grow up with my dad.

“Don’t feel sorry for me,” I said. “Because it has never once occurred to me to feel sorry for myself.”

My mother was a spiritual giant. If she spent time blaming herself for her marriage ending, I never witnessed it. I think she probably had those ‘poor me’ moments. But they were erased by her true belief God was in control.

Don’t get me wrong.

My mother was not a saint.

She absolutely said things about my dad during their difficult times. Relationship endings are not pretty. My mom made plenty of mistakes.

But what is beautiful about my mother is when the dust settled, she went about correcting them.

She taught me to love my father and told me he loved me. Despite the fact, his drinking made him nearly invisible in my life. He would routinely not show up to pick me up and would disappear for years.

My mom had great self-respect. And she modeled that for us. Once the pain of separation was over, she tended to focus on her blessings. While she may have been a single parent with great financial challenges, she felt like she had everything in the world. Her children.

My mother focused on love.

We had each other and we had God.

Which meant we had everything.

A five-year-old missing her dad is sad. Divorce is terrible. Pain is awful.

But love is beautiful.

Love can heal. 

And when you are especially well-loved you can feel lucky.

No matter what challenge God may decide is meant to shape you.

Though I embrace my own truth, I beat myself up I have now made it my children’s truth.

One particularly rough day, I tell my friend I am worried about my children.

“They just need to feel loved,” she says.

She reminds me of my mother. The incredible gift I was given. To feel loved, special, and even privileged to be the child of divorce.

I could have stayed married.

Goodness knows a long drawn out divorce shook my kids and me to the core. It changed us in ways we never knew possible. But the change is temporary. This will shape not define us. We are still the people we were albeit submerged beneath a pain I know will heal.

I could have stayed married.

But my mother taught me I couldn’t compromise with love.

I’m contributing pieces on Family Today and Medium. Follow me below. #WomanResurrected

On Medium @ColleenOrme

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Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist


E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com

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