My parents have been divorced since I was six years old. I am fourteen now and they live one hour apart. I used to see my dad every Thursday and every other weekend, but that was before the outbreak. Now I can’t see him at all.
The last time I saw my dad he couldn’t hug me, touch me, or even pet my dog. Social distancing and quarantine mean something different for children of divorce. It means we can’t see our parents and step-siblings. It means we don’t know when we’ll get to see them again. We might not see them for days. Or weeks. Or months.
I really miss my dad. I miss going on hikes when the weather is nice. I miss reading the New York Times together on Saturday morning and stealing sips of his coffee. I miss our annual trips to my Destination Imagination competitions where we pin trade and eat too many salt and vinegar chips. I miss our little traditions and inside jokes. I miss family dinners and going to Vermont on ski trips. But most of all, I just miss him.
It makes me sad that I don’t know when I’ll see him again. It is easy to get caught up in all the bad things that are happening but focusing on the negatives won’t do anyone any good.
For me, instead of thinking about how upset I felt, I started thinking about how lucky I am. I’m lucky because I have a bonus dad; my step-dad. I love my step-dad and I’m grateful to have him in my life. He’s not a replacement for my biological dad or a substitute, but he’s still important to me.
Some people say he’s not my real parent, but he’s about as real as it gets. He’s always there for me and loves me unconditionally. We may not share blood but we share a family. The whole world doesn’t share blood but we are still a family. We’re all on this planet together and the only way to deal with what is happening is to help each other.
This poem was written on the side of aid boxes sent from Japan to China and I think it sums up my message perfectly.
Even though we live in different places, we live under the same sky.
Even though my step-dad and I have different last names, together we are still a family. We live in the same house and we love each other. The whole world may not be related, but we’re still in this. Everyone is struggling, but we are struggling together.
Now seems like the perfect time to hide away and throw a pity party, like I did when I was sad about my dad, but it’s not. This is not the time to be self-absorbed. This is not the time to blame others or to be selfish. This is the time to be thankful and to help those who need it. We must all be grateful for what we have.
I’m grateful I have my step-dad, even If I can’t see my biological dad. Now is the time for the world to unite and prove that we can be a family. Oceans and continents may separate us, but we’re all human and going through the same pains and struggles.
We will only get through this if we all come together. Now is the time to reach out and spread the love.
After all, we live under the same sky.
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Sophie Rane Possick is 14 years old and lives in Rye Brook, NY. When’s she’s not competing in Destination Imagination, Sophie loves drawing, painting, her dog Ruby, and a good book.