A Story Dear to My Heart

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A Story Dear to My Heart

Photo credit Alyssa Cloward.

Photo credit Alyssa Cloward.

Photo credit Alyssa Cloward.

Photo credit Alyssa Cloward.

Alyssa Cloward

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Do you ever wish you could be a 5-year-old again? Where there were no problems, no responsibilities, and you thought your life was perfect?

Well, I do.

This is where my story begins. I was only a harmless little girl of 7 when I realized that my life was not perfect and was heading off-track.

It was just another day at school, until I looked at my phone. My mom had texted me right as school ended: “Run to the parking lot, and get into the car ASAP!”

I didn’t know what to think.

When I got to the car my mom was crying and yelled, “Lock the door behind you.” I didn’t understand why, but she was my mom.

I wouldn’t know who she really was until years later, when I’d find out all the lies she had made and the real reasons for her actions.

My mom rushed to her mom’s house. We walked up to the house and my grandma yelled, “HURRY! HURRY!” I was confused, but I went with it.

After everyone else ate my grandma’s meatloaf while I just put my food on my brother’s plate. We decided to play a board game, but I couldn’t bear it any longer.

“Why are we here? And why did I have to leave school right away?”

A long moment of silence.

My mom spoke up, “Well, your father is not happy right now.”

I didn’t understand what she meant. I cried. With teary eyes and sniffling, I asked, “What exactly do you mean?”

“He is not happy with his life right now.  I don’t know when we going to see him again.” Although I didn’t understand, I decided I would attempt to enjoy my time.

A few days later we finally went back to our house. The lack of cars in the driveway signified my dad’s absence. I found out that my dad had been to the house in the past hours, by the melting ice in the kitchen sink, and he showed up in the next few. I was heartbroken that night when my mom and dad fought.

I knew then that my family was not going to stay normal, but I didn’t know to what degree my life would change. As the years went on, my parents tried to make my life as normal as possible, but with my mom sitting on the sidelines and my dad wrapped up in his job and the house, it was not easy.

By the age of 12, life got crazy. I had just switched schools, and it was hard making friends. I didn’t really know anyone, and the people I did know just ignored me. I was in the play “Cinderella” and the week before production my parents could not even bear being the same room with each other.

After closing night, my mom and dad sat me down, and my mom accused my dad of cheating. I didn’t know if I believed that, but I guess my mom did. She moved into the guest bedroom, and after that, my dad started to get really angry.

During Thanksgiving break, we went to the desert, but that turned out to be more difficult than you would think. My dad had to sleep on the bunk bed above me while my mom got the bed in front of the trailer, and my dad was really hurt by that. Finally, by the end of the trip, we had reverted to denial.

By March, things had escalated even more. My mom went to an attorney. She lied about going to the lawyer and escalated everything she told the lawyer to make my dad even angrier, if he was not already.

My life had changed for the worse, or at least that’s what it felt like. One day I went down to my mom’s friend’s house to swim. It got really late, so I spent the night down there. Oh my, did I wish I knew the truth for why I was down there.

The next morning I woke extra early so we could drive to the family house and get my stuff for school. Once we got to the house, I rushed inside and got my stuff, but I did not see my dad. I asked my mom where he was but all she said was that he went down to my grandma’s for awhile. That day at school was normal: I hardly talked to anyone, and everyone hardly talked to me.

On the way to pick up my brother, my mom told me what had happened the night before. “Sweetie, me and your father are finally getting a divorce.”

I couldn’t hold back any of those tears that I had been fighting for the past few months and years. I couldn’t take this. I couldn’t take having my parents divorce.

My mom said absolutely nothing.

I finally got up the courage to ask. “When can I see Dad?”

My mom said, “The first court date is in two weeks.”

I asked, “Can I call Dad?”

“No, there is a restraining order against him. You, your brother and me can’t make any contact with him for a while.”

Those two weeks were some of the longest weeks of my life. When my mom got back from court, she told me that I still could not talk to dad, and the next court date was not for two more months.

A month later, while my mom was on vacation with her mom, I got a call. My grandpa, my dad’s dad, was in the hospital dying. My grandma wanted me to be there as soon as possible. After more than five hours battling with my mom, I finally got to see my grandpa in the hospital. Six days later he passed away.

After one month of copying papers, hearing horrible stories no kid should hear, the court date that I had been counting down the days for had arrived. After my mom got home she told me, “The next court hearing is in another month.”

I couldn’t believe that, I would have to wait another month to finally be able to see my dad.

After long days of waiting, and long nights of crying, I waited for the trial to be over, and this specific trial was 4 days long. I got more impatient to see my dad. After 103 days the night was here, I was going to be able to see him.

That Friday I eventually got to see my father. The only issue was now we had to be supervised by my grandma. I was extremely nervous when I saw my grandma’s text that they were at the end of the driveway. When I saw him, I didn’t know what to do first: cry or run up and hug him.

The dinner was nice, but awkward. We told old stories from the past, and though my father was in front of me, after 103 days, I felt we didn’t know each other.

After two hard months, I finally could be with my dad without my grandma and could finally call and text him. I started with only spending every other weekend and one night with my dad. Then as time progressed and trust grew, I spent half of my time at our home. After my mom decided to choose her career over me and my brother, we now live full time with our dad and occasionally talk to our mom.

Through this experience, I have matured a lot. I’ve been able to learn about my family, find a good group of friends and  learned how to be strong in a difficult situation.

If your parents are going through a divorce, remember that it is going to be OK.  This is not your fault; never think that whatever is going on between your parents has anything to do with you. Finally, your friends are your backbone: They are going to hold you up, they are going to help you through it and they are here to listen. Don’t be afraid to tell your truth, not anyone else’s. Be brave and hold your ground.