Dear Amy:

I am a 13-year-old girl, but I think I've got some really valuable advice for an adult who wrote to you recently.

I read the letter from "Good Mom but Tired of Being a Wife," the lady who wanted a divorce because she and her husband were "drifting apart."

My parents are going through the same thing.

Let me answer her question about how it affects the kids. It affects us a lot, and it hurts worse than anything I've ever gone through. It's an awful blow, especially when my parents seemed completely happy before, and then all of a sudden my dad is moving out because he says he's not happy.

Guess what, if you are not a happy person, moving out isn't going to magically make you happy. In fact, it will make you more lonely and sad. It will make everyone sad.

This lady needs to work on the problem instead of blowing up her kids' lives. It is her job to take care of them first and foremost. Their trust for her is on the line.

Thank you for answering her letter so well. I totally agree with you.

Feeling Sad and Betrayed

Thank you for writing this very wise letter and sharing a kid's perspective on divorce. I hope that parents clip this column to remind them that their kids don't necessarily share their vision of what it takes to be happy.

I'm glad you think that I answered this letter well. Like so many people, I have my own very personal experience with divorce, and I know how it feels to be a kid and worry that your family is falling apart.

But I have to tell you that many families go through these huge changes and don't fall apart. They just end up being different -- not worse, not better, but different.

I also hope that you'll take this heartfelt letter and show it to both of your folks. They need to know how you are feeling.

Dear Amy:

I am writing in response to "Frivolous Bride," who wanted to have a small wedding now and a large wedding later.

My husband and I got secretly engaged and decided to have a surprise wedding for some of our closest friends; we were married on snowboards by a friend of ours who is a minister. We felt that the spirituality of the event would be overshadowed by the "party" we felt the family wanted to plan.

A couple of months before the wedding, we announced to our close family that we were getting married and that they were not invited to the wedding. There was no way we could get all of the parents and grandparents up the mountain, and we didn't want to compromise.

They were crushed. We told them that they could have the reception for us a month later. We let them plan the music, food, cake, guests, etc., because we figured that was what was important to them.

We were wrong. They really just wanted to be a part of the marriage ceremony. The reception lacked the spirituality that the family so wanted.

You really do only get married once. It's not just about the two of you, but a joining of two families. The bride and groom will live in the shadow of the decision they make for the rest of their marriage.

Snowboarding Bride in Calif.

Wow. You excluded your family from your wedding and instead let them plan an elaborate reception for you. I have to wonder why you ever thought that this would work.

Hindsight is 20/20, even when you're blasting downhill on a snowboard.

Thank you for telling your story and for setting straight other prospective snowboarding brides and grooms. Perhaps your spiritual mountaintop moment would have been just as special if you had had a mountaintop blessing while on your honeymoon.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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