Written by Sian www.voicesinthemiddle.org.uk
For the 7 years leading up to the divorce, I knew things weren’t quite right between my Mum and Dad. Honestly, they really tried to make it work for the three of us kids. The late night chats they used to have to try and sort the issues out and being the eldest of us, I was always more aware of when there was tension. I think ideally they wanted to wait until we’d all finished high school so we didn’t get disrupted as much but the only thing was that ‘waiting for the right time’ caused more arguments, frustration and strain. When I was in my last two years of high school I started having counselling and I remember one day having a bad anxiety attack and just ran out of school. I couldn’t cope with people being loud and shouting and I found it hard in a classroom full of people.
I remember Mum hugging me saying she had no idea how I felt and that she loved me so much. She told me about possibly splitting up with Dad and I was surprised at how the words came out of my mouth ‘I just want you both to be happy.’ I’ll always remember the tears running down her face and I told her that if they did split up then we’d be okay. It’s not as if their love for us kids would change. They’d still be our mum and dad but just happier apart. And I learnt from a young age that they did love each other and care for each other, it just wasn’t enough to make it work. The strains of working and daily life then coming home and cleaning up and money issues didn’t help. Mum just didn’t stop to sit down and relax with us in the evenings.
When they eventually did decide enough was enough, I was in my first year of college. Some of the family thought they should have tried harder to sort it out but that’s unfair, no one knew what was really going on. Loads of people asked me what I thought about it all and honestly I’d say every time that I just wanted them to be happy.
It was messy for a while and things did get a bit awkward. Things were said that shouldn’t have been said. A lot of stupid things that shouldn’t have happened but we’re all on the other side of that now. In a much sunnier place. As the days go by I think we all feel better and my anxieties have more or less disappeared.
Some days I have to tell myself to relax and I’ll listen to some music to wind down. Mum always said she knows what it’s like not having her Dad around so felt guilty but she makes the effort to drive us round to see our Dad. They chat to each other about what’s going on. They’ve both got new partners now and I think they’re both great. I get on really well with them because they bring smiles back to Mum and Dad’s faces. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, I feel like I’ve gained a lot, almost as if it’s always been this way. It’s just so lovely to see my parents smile again and I’m sure they think the same about us kids. They only ever wanted us to be happy too.