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Category Archives: kids

Hold it together, man!

I have been amusing even myself over the past weeks as I relay my tales to whoever is out there in cyberspace reading my entries.

Today, though, I have been slightly deeper in thought, especially after a conversation with a good friend.

I’ve noticed over and over and over again certain attributes as I peruse countless profiles.  I cannot tell you how many divorcees I’ve come across.  Some, even, who are merely separated.  (As far as I’m concerned, if you’re still legally married, you have no business pursuing someone else.)  And many who are listed as single with kids.  The simplest way to describe how I feel about it it sad.

It makes me sad to see that so many marriages have not made it.  It makes me sad to see that so many people seem flippant about the fact that their kids are being raise in single-parent homes.  It makes me sad that relationships that are meant to last forever last only a few years.

To be 29 and divorced?  I don’t get that.  Perhaps because of the way I was raised, I have some different ideas when it comes to relationships and especially marriage.  When I see someone divorced at age 29, the only thing I can think of is that they didn’t try.  “Irreconcilable differences” is not a reason to end a marriage, it’s an excuse for laziness.  Any couple who really wants to make a marriage work, will make it work.

Now, I’m not married, but I’d like to think I’ve gleaned some valuable information from watching the people around me.  In my mind the #1 reason for divorce in North America is lack of communication.  Once the initial romance wears off (and it does, but I don’t think it has to) you get two people who don’t really seem to know each other and don’t really know how to communicate with each other.  In many cases, they’ve fallen in love with what the other person wanted them to fall in love with.  When that feeling of being in love wears off, they discover that the feeling is what they’ve based their relationship on.  This is decision time.  In too many cases, a couple will decide that they don’t love each other any more and go their separate ways.   The brave minority will make the choice to stay in love or fall in love all over again.

I think this is where a lasting marriage is made – at the time the decision is made that two people are going to stick it out no matter what.  When you remove the option of divorce, you are left with years of hard work ahead of you that will ultimately pay off in a lasting and loving marriage.  (That’s not to say that the hard work never ends, though.)  The couples who have spent years communicating, working and compromising together are the ones that are happy, not the single person who has a trail of ex-spouses and who knows how many children in their wake.

Should I find someone I’m willing to spend the rest of my life with, I may be bringing a whole load of opinions, craziness and shoes, but I’m not towing a trailer of old lovers and small children that will no doubt be the end of all future relationships.  I’m a forever kind of deal.

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The Way I See It #198

“You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all – your time? Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are the spontaneous ones. Being there. Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters” — Jim Russert Journalist

I found the above on my Starbucks cup this morning. After thouroughly enjoying my usual white chocolate mocha (for the low, low price of $5.09), I was prepared to toss the iconic white paper cup when the quote caught my eye.

I was reminded of my evening yesterday. Not one to have much patience for loud, screaming children, I had retired to the “kid-free” room of the house. All my siblings, their spouses and children had graced us with their presence to celebrate my brother-in-laws birthday – strangely, he was the only one not present at this moment in my memory. The kids were in the family room playing with a plethora of balloons left over from last week’s baby shower. My siblings were gathered around the table playing Space Beans. I sat quietly in the living room with my parents and one month old nephew. Above the obnoxious noise of sqeaking balloons and stomping feet, I heard my brother and his 7 year old daughter singing a little annoying ditty together. Now, the morning after, I can’t even remember what it was about, only that I made a comment to my mother.

As much as I have a hard time dealing with all the kids at once, it did my heart and mind a world of good to hear such a ridiculous tune. This proved to me several things. One was that my brother took interest in the world of his children. Not only did he know what they did and liked, he had an in-depth grasp of it all. Two was that he cared. He gently encouraged my niece if she got mixed up on the words and laughed along with her at the end of each verse (and there seemed to be many). Three was that, whether he realized it or not, he was making a moment that mattered. When that little girl grows up, she will look back and remember that Daddy used to (and hopefully still does) sing with her. Daddy cared about her world and Daddy loved her enough to learn a bunch of silly songs so that they could sing them together.

In a world where most children are left to raise themselves, my brother proved to me that functional and loving families still do exist. I’m not sure I’ve ever told him, but I am proud of him and his family. I love to see them love each other. I love to see the kids well-behaved, well-loved and well-adapted to this crazy thing we call life. In a world where parenting is a lost art, I praise God for the love and discipline that my brother and his wife have graced their children with and can only pray that they will be a great example for all those who surround them.