A conversation with a middle-schooler a few weeks back following a discussion about communicating after death was even more eye opening than the original one. She asked me how I would come back to her after I died. I responded, “as a hummingbird and what about you?” Her response was, “as a black and orange cat.” She said we better write them down so we don’t forget, but I thought to myself, I think I will remember this conversation. A week or so later, she asked me if I remembered how I would appear to her. I said, “Yes. Why did you pick a black and orange cat?” “Because I only have seen stray cats be black and orange and I feel like I am a stray too.” Our conversation was interrupted at that point so I have not found out her own reasoning behind it, but it struck a chord with me from years of teaching kids of divorce.
My observation was that some children do feel misplaced. Even with parents that do everything to make their child’s life happy, some kids still have difficulty knowing where they belong. They are going to Dad’s house or Mom’s house, or even a grandparent’s home, but not theirs. Where is their home? Living out of a suitcase, or even having 2 sets of everything can be difficult for their stability. As I said this is an observation not a criticism as it happened to me as well. Family members lived here for a while. We did everything we could think of to make this their home, but they never called it home. It was always our house. I once asked, “What would make you feel at home?” The answer was, “Not living with you. Living in a house that is just ours.” Sometimes you just have to accept that you have done all you can to help them adjust, but being aware of their feelings and acknowledging it is a first step in understanding the feelings of a ‘stray’. http://iamchildofdivorce.com offers many suggestions for divorced parents.