Two Different Households
All I’ve ever known as a kid was separation. Going from house to house, city to city, school to school; there was almost never a moment where I had felt stability for the first fourteen years of my life. It wasn’t all bad, but it most certainly wasn’t all good. But that’s who I am. Each key moment in my life, good or bad has impacted the person I am right now. All of my insecurities, quirks, and passions have come from my very own childhood.
My life quite literally split into two when I was around four years old. My Dad ended up moving in with my now step-mother in Pasadena, and my Mom found herself bouncing from house to house for a span of about six years from Pasadena to Santa Monica, then from Santa Monica to Burbank, then to switching houses in Burbank and finally back to Pasadena. My brother and I attended schools wherever my Mom went to make it easier on her already very stressful life. By the time we’re both high school graduates, we will have attended three different elementary schools and two different middle schools. Each school having a vastly different atmosphere along with different city cultures and diverse ethnicities.
But this still doesn’t begin to describe how different my Mother and Father’s households were. Each having completely different parenting styles with little to no communication with each other, going from house to house was like switching sides in a war on a weekly basis. My Father favored a teaching style where if I wanted something, I needed to put in the work to get that thing. From getting a pair of shoes to driving lessons, I had to put in some kind of work in order to obtain it, which had its ups and downs. There were lots of chores and rules with my Dad and Step-Mom. My Mother, on the other hand, wanted to give me the world and tried to get me every single resource available for anything I showed a slight interest in. But if I were to distance myself from that subject or not do a chore without her asking, I would be guilt-tripped into doing what she wants me to do. So obviously, it’s easy to see the two vastly different teaching styles wherein one, I am rewarded for my work. While on the other, I am rewarded in order to do my work. These two immensely different atmospheres indubitably made me into a better, more determined person.
I can go on and on about the things that come with living in two households. From different routines to the tiniest details like the different smells of each house, having two birthday celebrations and even both Hanukkah and Christmas during the holiday season (the only season that matters). There were many things I had the pleasure of experiencing that most others don’t. I can say with certainty that most people with two separate households have experiences that can push them to get through the toughest obstacles. I know that I’ve gained a particular resilience for when times get tough, I now know my limits and capabilities and how far they can take me. I know from the times I am caught in the middle of an ongoing parental feud to relocating for the fourth or fifth time.
There are many people with similar stories of parental separation where they get to experience different teaching styles and different kinds of love and affection. In the past, I may have thought that having my parents be together in one set house with one set school district would be better for my brother and I, but as I am getting prepared for going off to college, no longer dependent on their support, I know that having two different households gave me many qualities and traits I wouldn’t have otherwise.
artwork by Angelica Alzona