Mom & Dad,
It’s been many years since I’ve said your names together for any reason, something I didn’t realize until I typed them just now. These days it’s Mom & Mike and Dad & Jodie (or, more often, Nona & Pop and Gramps & Jammie).
But I was struck last week by just how lucky I am, and I wanted to say thank you.
Thank you for always putting me first, even when the pain and anger of your divorce probably made that harder than I’ll ever know.
Thank you for never speaking badly about each other.
Thank you for respecting and honoring the role that you both play in my life and the lives of my children.
Thank you for marrying people who love me as their own, in their own ways, and who love my children as grandparents do.
Thank you for continuing to love and care for your ex-in laws…and for each other’s new families.
Thank you for never creating awkward situations or making me choose between you at special events.
There are moments that stand out to me over the past 28 years…being called into the TV room where you told me you were getting a divorce; watching my Daddy walk out and climb into his truck to go live at his parents; sitting at my grandmother’s house watching her love on my baby sister, even though she had no relation or obligation to her; seeing you hug at many funerals over the years; and watching both of my fathers shake hands in a way that showed genuine respect.
There are funny moments too, like the time Peyton, at three years old, looked between you and asked, “Gramps, do you know Nona?” I’m thankful that made us all laugh rather than creating awkwardness.
With a baby sister who has become my best friend, I can’t help but be thankful for your divorce, even though I know it represents brokenness, because wishing for things to be different would mean missing out on her very existence.
I know not everyone is so lucky, but I’m beyond thankful that our story is one of overcoming the hurt and anger with love, honor, and respect. I know there have been hard moments—some that you hid from me that I’ve only learned about as an adult, some that I saw, and some I’ll never know about—but those moments never defined what having divorced parents meant for me, and for that I’m thankful!
These days, I’m wearing Mom’s old wedding ring set. One day, I plan to split the diamonds to create earrings for each of our girls and a piece for each of my future daughter-in-laws as well. Because while divorce is always heartbreaking, your marriage was the beginning of me and this family of mine, and I’m thankful that we can look back and celebrate that instead of focusing on the loss.
So…thank you for taking a hard situation and doing it right, and thank you for being an example to others who are walking this tough road!