From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

Still Loved

You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

Jim Rohn

When I was about ten years old, my parents got in a huge argument that changed my life forever. Every time before that, they would always make up, but this time I had a feeling it was going to be different. This time, my parents didn’t talk to each other for days, and my dad slept on our pullout couch down in the basement.

Then we went to the county fair as a family. My mom and dad started talking and having fun together again, so I thought everything was okay.

I asked my mom, “You and Daddy are getting along a lot better, aren’t you?”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” she answered.

I was so confused. I think my brother was, too, but he was just a normal thirteen-year-old and wasn’t brave enough to admit how he was feeling.

Then the night came when my parents called my brother and me to come into the living room. They asked us to sit on the couch because they had to talk to us about something.

My dad began by saying, “Cameron, Karissa, your mom and I just can’t seem to get along together any longer. We have worked on it and worked on it. We decided it would be best for me to move out and see if that helps.”

“No, Daddy!” I yelled. “You can’t leave us!” My brother began yelling and screaming, saying he was going to move in with my father. My mom was crying. Everything was a disaster. I couldn’t take it, so I ran upstairs to my room.

My dad moved out the Friday after he found a house to live in. I was so insecure about whether or not my parents would get back together. I would ask questions like, “Daddy, do you miss Mommy?”

He would always answer, “No, I don’t.”

Then I would ask questions like, “Daddy, do you have another girlfriend?”

And he would answer, “That’s not something that is going to happen for a while.”

After my dad moved out, my brother’s anger got out of control. I even started to feel unsafe around him. He ended up moving in with my dad, thinking it would be better over there. But after a while, he saw that it was just the same.

I thought my dad moving out would make it so all the arguing would stop between my mom and him, but it didn’t. Every time my dad would drop me off after coming home from his house, he and Mom would get into it with each other.

About six months after he moved out, I was surprised to find out that my dad had a girlfriend. She had a three-year-old that sometimes I just couldn’t stand.

Then about eight months after my parents split up, Mom started seeing a guy she had been friends with her whole life. He had three boys. One of them was a year older than me, and another one was a year younger than me. I liked that I had someone to play with again. But after a while, they were always at our house, and I ended up not having any time to just spend alone with my mom anymore.

It seemed that nobody understood how I felt. I thought about running away and hoped that it would cure all of my sadness, but in my heart I knew that running away from my troubles wouldn’t help anything.

I wanted to take my anger and sadness out on my dad, so I did some strange things to get back at him. For instance, I was offered the opportunity to go with friends on a trip to New York City, and another time they wanted to take me up to the mountains to learn how to ski. I turned them all down because somehow I thought that if I suffered, my dad would suffer, too, and I wanted my dad to realize he had ruined my life. The only thing that came of my behavior was that I didn’t end up having any fun—and my dad never even noticed.

It’s been two years since my dad moved out, and I have finally decided that I shouldn’t sob and cry my whole life over something that I can’t change. I only have one life, and if I spend it crying and sobbing, I can never get back the chance to just enjoy being a kid.

And since my parents split up, I have come to understand that no matter how much my parents fight—and who they choose to be with—it doesn’t affect how much both of them still love me.

Karissa Porter, 12

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