Being an only child is hard. It’s hard growing up with no siblings, but it’s ok because you have your parents to be your friends. Corny, I know. However, for me this was true. Growing up my family constantly moved and really all I had was my parents and, of course, my pets. We finally settled in good ole Georgia and are all still living here.
However, that has recently come crashing down. While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving dinner, aka the 30 minute drive to their house from Buckhead, I was sitting in the living room putting up the Christmas tree with my mother when the words just came out of her mouth “your father and I are taking sometime apart.” I just thought she meant they were going to go see counselors and go talk about their problems. Boy was I wrong. Within the next couple weeks I was helping my dad carry out boxes to move him into an apartment in the city.
What is a twenty-something supposed to do in this situation? You’re trying to balance getting your life together, your job and now this. I have found the following to help me a lot.
- Realize it’s not your fault. For months I kept coming back that it was the fact I was gone at an out of state university and then after graduation I moved out to be closer to my job. After I sat back I knew this was actually between them and at the end of the day they are still my parents and will be there for me when they need to be.
- Tell them to exclude you from conversations. Since my parents and I are so close they would come to me to discuss their thoughts and feelings. I found it made me less upset by saying “I don’t want to hear it.” When they thought I wanted to chat about it. However, this is not an easy task. You will not be able to say this once.
- Realize that holidays will be hard. The first one is the worst. For me, it was Christmas. My favorite holiday was surrounded by forced conversation and awkward amounts of tenseness.
- It’s always ok to talk about it. I think for me when it first happened, I was afraid to talk about it to anyone. In my head it made it seem almost too real each time I opened my mouth. Finally, after I told my best friend, I actually felt a lot more relieved about it.
I hope anyone who is going through what I am dealing with can benefit from my tips. Never be afraid to go talk to a trained professional as well. That is what they are here for. Did I miss any that you would recommend?