Mom: Austin, who is your source of inspiration… a celebrity, singer, an athlete or someone in your everyday life?
Austin: I think you are one of the biggest inspirations in my life. When I say that, I think about my freshman, sophomore and junior year. You guys were kicking my butt about school work. You actually made me believe that college is super important. I view you guys as more inspiring than anybody else, not just because you are my parents, but you just gave me a reason to go out there and try hard.
Mom: That’s nice Austin. Thank you. That means a lot.
Austin: You’re welcome.
Mom: I asked Ryanne a few of these questions as well. Ryanne and I talked about her perspective on having divorced parents. What is your perspective? What’s been good and what’s difficult?
Austin: Before I say anything, I absolutely love the life I have right now. I love Ryan. I love Melissa. I love you and dad, but I’m going to be honest. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my entire life. It was the absolute HARDEST thing.
I remember after you guys split up I was pretty sad…
[Austin sees me crying ….]
Austin: I don’t want you to feel bad that you guys got divorced….
Mom: You know what Austin, no, tell me the truth. Anything you are feeling I want to understand and I do feel bad for you. You don’t have to hold back. I want to know. That is why I asked the question.
Austin: I am just being honest how I felt. It was the absolute hardest thing I’ve been through in my life. I was so used to you and dad being together. After the divorce happened I felt like I had social issues and internal issues until the beginning of high school.
I remember I had trouble falling asleep at night. I didn’t know what was wrong at the time, but I know now that it was tied to the divorce. It was hard sleeping at two different houses, trying to fall asleep at two different houses and finding my sense of comfort.
With middle school and with social issues, I felt like I didn’t know how to approach people as well as other kids did. I don’t know if this is something other kids go through, but I tried to do anything to make other kids like me, by the way I talked or what I did. Some things I’m not proud of and some things I am.
I feel like now, junior year and senior year, I’ve been a lot happier, because I don’t worry about my social issues. I just try to be who I am. I’m proud of who I am and how I look. Sometimes I think ‘hmmm….I could lose a little weight’ but… [laughs]
But I’m proud of who I am and what I do. I’m proud of and happy with the people I have around me.
Mom: You should be very proud of who you are!!
Mom: If I had to guess, I think most middle school kids feel very similar to how you felt. They are not sure how they fit in, they are not comfortable how to socialize. They are not sure how to be true to themselves. I think if you went to the middle school today and asked kids to answer honestly, they would say this is true. I think this is why people look back at middle school and realize it was a very difficult time.
What I’m wondering though, did having divorced parents added an extra layer of insecurity?
Austin: Yeah, I kind of feel like that.
Austin: I felt like I was constantly in the middle between you and dad. I had to please one side more than the other. Constantly back and forth and it made me sad sometimes. It’s still happens now, but I don’t really care. It’s like, this side and this side need to handle it themselves. It’s not my deal. I’m just learning to ignore it and let everyone handle it themselves.
Austin: I’d just like to say and be honest that even with the divorce, I’m happy now, and I love both sides of the family. But...I just don’t ever want my own kids in the future to ever go through that. That was really, really hard.
Mom: I’m sorry Austin.
Austin: You don’t need to say sorry.
Mom: Well, I mean…. [can’t talk…crying]
Mom: It’s one of the biggest sources of guilt I have that you and Ryanne have divorced parents. Um, I feel really bad. It hurts me to know that it hurt you a lot. I also am sorry that you felt like you were in the middle. I think we tried not to, but we didn’t do a very good job. I’m really sorry for that. I’m sorry you had divorced parents.
[Austin gives me a hug…]
Mom: Thank you for telling me the truth. What you shared were the hard things. Was there any good?
Austin: Oh definitely!! Besides the two Christmases, that’s always a plus…
[Mom laughing...thinking the answer sounds similar to his sister's.]
Austin: It’s always good adding onto the family. Instead of just having two families, now we have four. I’m incredibly lucky I got to know Ryan and Melissa. They are both great people. I couldn’t be happier with anybody else. I mean, we could have had shitty step parents that treat us like crap, like what you see in the movies, but they don’t. I know for a fact, they love Ryanne and I. They do everything possible to make sure we are successful. That shows me they are true parents! Ryan could be my biological father and Melissa could be my biological mother. They do great things for us!
Mom: If you had to give advice to teens whose parents are divorced or to the parents who are divorced do you have any advice?
Austin: Don’t feel like you need to be in the middle between the two sides. Don’t feel like you need to appease both sides. The parents need to talk to one another and not treat the kids like the messenger. Oh, and love both sides.
To be continued.....