Being a child of divorce in America is nothing new. While common, I can say from first hand experience that it feels like the end of the world. And it doesn’t matter what age you are when your parents divorce, it still hurts just as bad.
Three years in the aftermath, my family home is gone. Foreclosed. Battle ground zero. The house was caught in the crosshairs of the war.
In the past 10 years, home has been the one constant that I have in the wake of all of the changes that 10 years brings. It was the first house that ever was mine, the first one in my life that I had ever lived in. I grew up in apartment complexes for the first 13 years of my life, and on my parent’s wedding anniversary in 2002 we finally moved into a family house.
Two years ago I moved out of Livermore to finish my degree in Sacramento, but I came home as often as I could. Despite the fact that our home was very obviously missing a person, it was still home.
And to be honest I didn’t realize how much not having my family home would affect me until it was gone. This weekend, I was “home” for the weekend, and when I say that I mean that I jumped between two of my best friends’ family homes, and I decided to drive by my old house on Chippewa, and it is being completely gutted and redone. There was the debris of the walls that contained my childhood scattered all over, blue painter’s tape covered the window that my family’s Christmas tree would stand in front of. The foliage that my parents planted together had been ripped out, and the deck that I spent a lot of time sitting on was torn out and rebuilt.
It was heartbreaking, and I honestly had to choke back tears a bit once I was in private. While my friends have the opportunity to “move back home” after college and get on their feet, I don’t have that luxury. Not that I would need to, but if for some reason I did, there is no home for me to move back to. I don’t have a home base, and I become the displaced fifth child in the two new families that have been created in the wake of the divorce.
I will get over the loss of my home, eventually. But for now it feels good just to write about it and get it out of my mind. I know I am not the only one to lose a home, so for those of you who know the feeling- I am sorry.
It’s not like all of the memories my old house holds are good. It was still the place that my family split up. It was the place where I was dealt my first heartbreak. The place where I found out my grandfather had died. The place where we had the first Christmas morning without a whole family.
But sometimes the good outweighs the bad. My home was also the place where I got ready for my first high school dance. It was the last place that my family was whole. It was the place where I got to see my favorite person grow into the beautiful and intelligent woman she is. It was the place that I realized I had fallen in love for the first time. It was the place that Christmas tradition lasted for eight years. It was the place that I had fallen in love with pop punk music in the quiet of my room. It was the place that I stood in my cap and gown… twice.
Sometimes, like I already have done a lot in my life, you have to let go. And maybe writing about it will help me let it go.