“That Class Should Be Held in a Spa”

I had to go to the first part of my court-ordered divorce parenting class yesterday. Boy, was that fun. I mean a real fucking blast. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do with half a day than sit in a classroom that smells like cigarettes and Axe body spray with a bunch of depressed soon-to-be divorced parents while we all talk about how badly we’re gonna mess up our kids by getting divorced and watch pop psychology videos that had to have been made circa 1975.

I got so miserable during the class that I desperately took out my phone and started texting friends right in front of the instructor. Luckily my friends are downright hilarious and made me giggle despite all the gloom and doom around me. “Hey, maybe you can find a date for the formal there?” “Omg… why do they have to make divorce so trashy? That class should be held in a spa.”

First we had to introduce ourselves and say one positive thing about our kid(s). And I shit you not, this one lady said about her 12-year-old, “she loves body piercings”. I’m sorry. What? There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to begin. She’s 12? And loves body piercings? And you view this as a positive thing? And not only a positive thing, but THAT is what pops into your mind to say when you have to sum up your daughter in a single sentence to 15 strangers?

This is what I’m dealing with, people. This is what I’m dealing with.

Then we had to do this exercise where we all called out emotions that kids feel when their parents tell them that they are getting divorced, and the instructor wrote them all on the board. She was writing all kinds of things like “depression, anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, sadness” and now I’m not trying to say that those aren’t all true because I have no doubt that they are, but I felt I had to step in at this point. I raised my hand and said “what about relief? I mean if there is a lot of conflict in the house, sometimes it’s better for parents to split up. Isn’t that why we’re all here?” Everyone stared at me blankly and then nodded and then smiled.

The instructor did not write it on the board.

In all seriousness, it was beneficial, I guess, to talk about divorce from the child’s point of view. Caroline is not old enough to understand what is going on– Tyler hasn’t really lived with us since he left for his trip to South Africa before the summer, which was in June, and she was only 16 months old at the time. She’ll grow up not knowing anything other than her parents not being together. But I’m sure some of the emotions will be the same when she realizes exactly what that means.

Other messages from the class were things that I already knew and try my best to live by, like not speaking negatively of the other parent in front of the child, keeping schedules consistent, not using the child to hurt the other parent, etc. Always good to reinforce that.

Anyway, I suffered through three long hours of yet another way for the state to make money, I mean parenting class, and then drove like a bat out of hell to get to my 1:00 patient on time. Who then did not show up. Such is life as a dental student. I have to go to the other half of the class next Wednesday, which is the day after our divorce is hopefully finalized. Please GOD let it be finalized on Tuesday. I don’t want to deal with this legal business anymore. I’d rather have a 12-year-old daughter whose most positive attribute is an obsession with body piercings.

Well… maybe I wouldn’t go that far.

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  1. by Alana

    On February 18, 2011 at 5:01 am

    my parents were divorced by the time i was 5, and i don't remember them together at all. i knew them separately, and i knew them in their 90 second "well…iust dropping the kids off as planned…" interactions.i dont even want to IMAGINE them together, they are SO obviously incompatible. they never belonged together, and i'm glad i didn't have to grow up in a house where the two of them tried to stay together. that would have been far, far, worse than growing up with divorced parents.i think you're doing the right thing.rooting for you and caroline in seattle!