Okay, let me introduce myself. My name is Emily Thompson. I'm fifteen years old and I want to tell you about my family.
See, people say that there is something wrong with my family, because it isn't like everyone else's. We may have started out as a more traditional family, but that didn't last long. My mom and dad were married a few years before I was born. Then I came along.
When I was little I remember hearing my mom cry all the time. There was also a lot of yelling late at night, when my parents thought I was asleep. They tried to hide it from me, but adults don't seem to realize that kids understand more than people know.
When out in public my parents would wear strained smiles and act like a happily married couple. People were so surprised when they finally decided to do the right thing and get a divorce. They had been the ideal couple, the one that everyone else wished they were. Only the three of us knew the truth about what lay beyond that carefree facade. The last year they were married my dad didn't even sleep in the same room as my mom. He moved his things into the guest room down the hall, but they still played the happy couple when in public.
I didn't tell anyone what was going on because I knew my mom would be terribly upset if people knew the truth. She seemed really angry at my dad and was always doing things to punish him, like giving him the silent treatment or saying things that she knew would upset him.
Since I was only eight at the time, I didn't fully understand what was going on. I knew that Mom was angry; that Dad was sorry, and that they were both unhappy. I just didn't know why.
It wasn't until I was older that I could look back on those days and see them more clearly. I also know they stayed together longer than they should have because they thought that doing so was what was best for me.
Now, I don't want you to think that I blame myself for their problems or something stupid like that, because I don't. I know that their problems were their problems, way before I even came along. I'm just saying they stayed together because they both loved me and wanted what was best for me. It just took them awhile to realize that what was best for me was to have two parents who were happy and it didn't matter if they were married or not. I didn't even really need them to get along with each other, just as long as they were individually content with their lives.
I won't say that it wasn't hard when my dad finally moved out. It was. I was used to seeing both of my parents on a daily basis and after the divorce I only got to see dad on the weekends and every Wednesday after school. It was an adjustment, but one that was necessary.
Dad got an apartment and he seemed, if not happier, less on edge and stressed all the time. At first he tried too hard to make everything seem normal and planned fun-filled days. It wasn't until I told him that he didn't have to try so hard that things started to settle down.
At first, mom was sad all the time. She still cried, but it lacked the anger of before. Now, it almost seemed like she was grieving. I realize now that she was. No matter how miserable she had been, she was grieving the end of the life she thought she would have.