I was seven.
I remember it vividly.
I was sitting on the lounge with my big brother and Dad, and Mum was sitting opposite us.
“Your dad’s going to move out,” she told us. “We’re separating, your dad’s going to move out.”
I burst into tears and bear-hugged Dad. I didn’t want him to go.
Dad’s new place was about 15 minutes away from us. He’d have us every Sunday and one week of the school holidays.
It became the new normal and in those early days they definitely didn’t like each other.
We’d get the beep outside our grandparent’s house to head to the car or the hostile handover at Maccas.
I’m 24 now and over the years I have forged really close friendships with both of my parents.
Of course I went through those sh*tty teenage years, where I would clash with my mum and resent my dad. But now I can confidently call my parents my best friends.
Mum and I talk about our relationships and even our sex lives, and my dad has shown me the world. We’ve been overseas together twice and we’ve done 12 hour interstate car rides – just him and me – bonding.
If my parents hadn’t divorced, I honestly don’t think I would be as close friends with them both as I am.
When we were young, my brother and I would dream about our parents getting back together. We were seven and 12, of course we wanted that.
But it wasn’t until I turned 15 that they started even talking to each other.
Eventually they became friends. They started surprising us at lunch dates together, even though we’d only been invited by one of them. To be honest, it kind of irked me. Suddenly we were navigating lunch as a foursome after so many years of forced separation.
That was nine years ago. As far as my brother and I knew – they were friends, that’s it. ‘Doing it for the kids,’ and all that. They were still dating other people after all.
But suddenly they were both single at the same time and everything changed.
“Your dad and I are just going to lunch.”
“Your dad and I are going to see a show together.”
Weird, but alright.
“Your dad is taking me for a weekend away to the Hunter Valley.”
Hold up. What?
After 17 years, my mother and father are back together, and I feel a bit grossed out about it, to be honest.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy for them, because in the end, all I want is for them to be happy. But I’ve gotten so used to them as individuals that the thought of them being back together and re-coupling is just very weird.
I had to set my boundaries with mum the other day, when she nearly went into a little bit too much detail about her relationship. It was fine when she was dating other people, but it’s my dad now and it’s just too much.
In a way my parents being back together has put up roadblocks in my relationships with them. Suddenly I don’t want them talking so freely, or venting so openly about certain aspects of their lives. They’ve gone back to being my parents, not so much friends I share everything with.
We’re all in a bit of a weird limbo at the moment, my brother and I are watching from the wings as my parents basically start from the beginning.
They went Facebook official a few weeks ago, posting a closeup couple shot of themselves on a date. They’ve been having “sleepovers” at each other’s houses, and my dad recently told his parents he was in a relationship.
It’s taken a bit of getting used to.
Over the past two decades I’ve seen my parents in such different lights, so it’s almost hard to put them back together again in my mind as a couple now that they’re in their late 50s.
I will get used to it I’m sure, I got used to them being divorced after all.
It’s just a little bit weird and a little bit gross right now.
Rachael Hart – 2019