Hello and Welcome.
I am happy you are joining Karyn Lynn Grant and myself as we delve into: “Who Moved My Happily Ever After: The Heart-Wrenching Impact of Divorce on Adult Children,” the first in a six-part series.
In this first interview, Karyn offers a glimpse into her childhood filled with love, cherished traditions and an almost idyllic image of a happy family that I can personally attest that many of us would have truly loved. However, soon you will hear Karyn as she shares how her parents’ divorce shattered her perception of “happily ever after” and the profound impact it had on her dreams of creating a family of her own.
We explore how Karyn navigated through the challenging emotions, drew strength from her parents’ approach to handling their divorce and ultimately found the courage to make difficult decisions in her own life.
Join us as we uncover Karyn’s personal journey and gain valuable insights into “the heart-wrenching impact of divorce on adult children.”
Carol: Welcome Karyn and thank you for meeting with us today.
Your article delves into the personal experience of growing up in a loving family and then facing the impact of divorce. Can you share more about your childhood that had you believing for “happily ever after?”
Karyn: As a small child, I grew up in a family where my parents taught me to pray and have good values. My childhood was happy and comfortable with a father who worked hard to support and provide for his family. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom who kept an organized, beautiful home with wonderful dinners on the table every night at 6:00 p.m. Mine was an old-fashioned childhood with a family sitting around the table together, spread with placemats, cloth napkins and a centerpiece of fresh cut flowers or candles. My father loved his role of providing and did it earnestly and well. He took us on weekly outings after all our chores were done most Saturdays. My favorite pastimes were sailing and camping with both parents and my two big sisters.
Everything rolled along like clockwork, during my childhood. Christmases were joyful and merry, always filled with family and fun traditions provided by both of my parents. Mom sewed the doll clothes, baked the sugar cookies and wrapped all the gifts. Dad played Santa and read the Nativity Story aloud every Christmas Eve with his voice trembling. Thanksgivings were always happy and plentiful. Birthdays were a happy occasion to be anticipated with eager hearts.
Carol: It’s really heartwarming to hear about your childhood filled with love, strong values, and cherished family traditions. It sounds almost idyllic. For sure, your parents created a nurturing and joyful environment for you and your siblings. The way you describe the family meals, outings and holiday celebrations paints a beautiful picture – such togetherness and happiness.
Would you share a significant moment in your life that reshaped your perception of “happily ever after” and its profound impact on your childhood dreams of creating a family?
Karyn: My vision of happily-ever-after ended suddenly after having my third baby when I was twenty-eight.
One day, I got a call from my mother letting me know that she and dad were going to be divorcing. Suddenly, it seemed that the sun went down on my early childhood dreams of growing up and getting married and creating a family just like theirs.
The effect on each of my siblings was different. I, however, will share about my own personal experience.
I felt instinctively to have compassion on both parents and the grief that each one of them must be going through. I never felt angry or bitter at either one of them for making this choice. I still loved them both, regardless of their choice to get divorced.
At first, I hoped that they would be able to resolve anything that had caused this division to occur. As the days passed, it became more obvious that their choice to divorce was what was best for each one of them.
Carol: It’s understandable how the dissolution of your parents’ marriage shook the foundation of your belief in a “happily-ever-after” and impacted your own perspective on your marriage.
How did you navigate through the challenging emotions?
Can you provide more details about certain aspects of your parents’ approach to handling their divorce specifically in regard to their adult children?
1. I appreciated that my parents never spoke any unkind words about the other. This helped me to maintain a relationship with both of them, each in a new kind of way.
2. I was never asked to “take sides”. Neither of my parents ever used me as a “sounding board” to vent their grievances against the other. This allowed me to continue feeling love and loving towards them both during their crucial time.
3. Eventually, they were able to attend family gatherings on important occasions where they were congenial and kind toward one another in the presence of children and grandchildren.
4. My father continued to share with me, forever-after, on our personal phone calls, his remorse and regret for his part in the family upheaval. He never blamed my mother in any of those conversations.
5. Neither one of my parents ever showed anger, bitterness or hostility towards the other after their divorce. They spoke with respect about the other if ever each other’s names came up in conversation.
6. They set respectful boundaries so that I understood that divorce may mean going your separate ways, but continuing to express gratitude, in hindsight, for all the wonderful things about your previous lives shared together.
7. While I grieved over the loss of my parents as a combined unit, having grown up with both of their strengths interweaving together into the fabric of my soul, I was able to accept their decision to divorce. Perhaps, it was because of the way they transitioned into two separate people with two separate lives, making separate choices, but still showing honor to one another during the aftermath of their break-up.