The Green House on the Corner – Kaitlyn’s Story
I’m a homebody; also known as an introvert. I love having a place where I feel safe, comfortable and accepted. Growing up my family home provided that sanctuary. My parents were the perfect combination of loving, good fun and a little crazy. They raised my brother and I with Christian values and were gracious with us when we didn’t quite act accordingly. My family was far from perfect but I couldn’t imagine life any other way.
Our family home was a beautifully simple, green house on the corner of our street. We were close to town so it was not unusual for our home to be filled with school friends, neighbors and extended family. Between my parents, brother and I we hosted sleepovers, New Year’s Eve parties, BBQ’s, family get-togethers and everything in between. It’s the house where I danced around in the living room making up silly routines, where my brother and I fought over toy cars. It’s the house where I snuck into my parents’ bedroom to sleep on the floor when I wasn’t feeling well and the house where I cried my eyes out over a broken heart. But somehow the hard times didn’t seem so bad because the sweet memories overpowered them. There is one memory that comes to mind:
One morning I was out in the living room while my parents were in the kitchen making breakfast. I had failed to put away my sleeping bags from who knows when, so they were piled up on the couch. Suddenly I had one of the more genius ideas I’ve ever had and began running and jumping onto the couch, sliding onto the pile perfectly from the slickness of the sleeping bags. I laughed, apparently the only one amused by my idea, as my mom rolled her eyes and my dad hid his smile. I got up to reevaluate the situation when suddenly my dad came running from the kitchen and jumped knees first onto the mountain of sleeping bags. Three things followed: the couch making a loud cracking sound, my dad screaming out in pain, and my mom yelling (concerned yet humorously), “Darrrrellllll!” I’m not sure why that’s one of my favorite memories. Maybe because it reminds me of how much of a goofball my dad is, or maybe because it was one of the fails in life that are funny to reflect upon – but regardless, it makes me smile because that was my family on a typical day.
I knew my parents’ marriage wasn’t perfect but I believed they loved each other. They went on date nights, joked around with each other even after working together all day. Two years ago if you had asked me how my parents were doing I would have told you, ‘better than ever’. Yet that’s the crazy thing; two years ago my parents got divorced.
It was shortly after my parents had celebrated 30 years of marriage, when my dad left my mom. By Christmas of that year they were officially divorced, and a couple weeks later my dad was remarried to a girl I didn’t know and didn’t care to know. I wasn’t even told about or invited to the wedding.
The years following have been full of heartbreak, struggle and change—lots of change. The first year I worked through forgiving my dad for things said and done, and trying to restore our relationship. Now at the end of the second year, it’s been a hard balance of keeping everything sane as my family is now based in different states. My dad and his wife in Oklahoma, my mom in California, and me in Arizona. Not to mention, our (old) home in Washington.
We’ve all worked hard to try and find our new normal, but when it came time to sell our family home this past summer, the pain resurfaced. I knew we couldn’t keep the house forever, but that didn’t make it any easier to accept the news. Over time ‘home’ kept slipping away from me. It was feeling less like ‘home’. Pictures slowly disappeared from the walls, less cars crowded the driveway and I never left feeling at peace. Maybe home didn’t feel like home anymore, but it was also the last tangible thing I had to remind me of what our family used to be. The last symbol of hope that my parents may still get back together was now gone.
As an adult with divorced parents it seemed that everyone assumed my brother and I would be okay.
Oh they’re older, so it’s better. They don’t even live at home anymore! At least it didn’t happen when they were growing up.
But let me tell you, it’s still hard—very hard. As an adult I have a greater understanding of the situation which makes it even more confusing. My dreams and ideals around marriage and relationships have been deeply shaken. I may not be a child still living in their home, but, I’m 24 years old and I still cry about my parents’ divorce.
There are still a lot of aspects that I don’t understand, but I do know that God has spoken to me during this time more than ever. I’ve learned a hope that I never knew before, and discovered first hand that life is much better when you’re holding onto Jesus. Even though I don’t think that it was God’s plan for my parents to get divorced, I believe that despite of what life brings us, God is capable of making the best of it. For what it’s worth, I’m beyond grateful for the years my family had in that house. I’m going to miss it dearly.
I’m still an introvert and a homebody and I still long to retreat to my safe place sometimes. But this journey has taught me that my hope and security is no longer in a house or even the memories it contains. My hope is not in what I thought my life should or would look like; my hope and peace, is in God.
Always believing for greater things.