The Ties That Bind: A Teenager Talks About Marriage And Divorce
Young writers are often advised to "write what you know," and we've found that the young people of Dayton Youth Radio do just that. In the beginning of our radio class, project coordinator Basim Blunt holds a microphone and tells the students that they can ask anyone anything. Today, Centerville High School student Camrin O'Flaherty asks her mom for some answers.
My name is Camrin O’Flaherty. I am 17 years old from Centerville, Ohio. I wanted to show parents what your children are going through if you go through a divorce and how we deal with it. My mom, Melanie, is a hard working woman who never stops; she is constantly on the go. One of my favorite memories of my mom is when I was in elementary school and every Tuesday we used to drive to Alexandria after school so I could participate in a theater class. We’d stop off at Chick-fil-a and get chicken nuggets and lemonade.
My dad has always lived in a different state. I haven’t ever had a Thanksgiving, birthday, or anything special - like a dance with my dad because my mom wasn't sure if he was my dad. You see, my mom has been divorced three times. My dad was her second husband.
I don't know much about my mom’s first marriage because I wasn’t around, but from what I can gather, they were both just too young. They were married for a minute. The second one resulted in my brother Nathan and me being welcomed into the world. When my parents went their separate ways, they split up a family of four, and this break up has had the biggest emotional impact on my life.
I’m still upset with my mom. The way everything happened, I feel as if she didn’t think much about my brother and I before she made the decisions that ended in each divorce. So I decided to interview her.
I started by asking her if, she thought about how her decisions affected me, especially since she wants to be my role model.
"Yes, of course," my mom said. "Being married 3 times is not the kind of role model I want to be. No one chooses to be married more than once. The ideal is to meet that person that you're going grow old with, and then they're the only ones you've ever been married to. That's the ideal, that's what I wish my life had been. I mean as a role model I think that part of my life is not something I want for my children."
When I was 15, the third divorce happened. I remember when my mom and stepdad sat my stepbrother, Gavin and I down to tell us they were getting a divorce. When this married ended, it took its toll. I would come home and sleep and not do my homework. When I slept, I wouldn’t feel anything and I could escape from what was going on in my life. At the end of sophomore year I was diagnosed with depression, but I kept that away from everyone.
"For you to go through that more than once, it's definitely affected you negatively in some ways," says my mom. "You've had to start over and deal with some things emotional that you shouldn't have had to. As a mom, I've tried my absolute best to get you through things and do everything I possibly could."
Being married means that you have a life long commitment to that person no matter what. I feel as if the relationship needs to have full effort on both sides, and if anything goes wrong or is hurting the relationship, the couple should get help to keep the marriage going.
"I hope you, when you get married for the first time, I hope that's the person that you live the rest of your life with and that you are able to make the right choice at whatever age you get married," said my mom.
I asked her what was one of the happiest memories that she ever had with me.
"One extremely important day that made me happy, teary eyed and was very important to you and me both at the time was the day you got baptized. I was super proud of you and you were just so young and so happy about it and you knew exactly what you were doing."
I then asked her if, after her third divorce with my step-dad Ken, she thought she'd ever get married again.
"At this point in time, no," she said. "It's different having someone in your life then sharing your life with someone."
Even though my mom hasn’t had good experiences with marriage, I can’t wait for that part of my life; living with the love of my life. Will I ever get a divorce? I hope not, but honestly you never know what life will throw at you and what will happen between my husband and I.
Camrin O'Flaherty is a student at Centerville High School. Special Thanks to Tricia Rapoch, teacher for the Communication Arts Program at Centerville High School. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/CHS
Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.