Saturday, April 23, 2011

In spite of my best efforts.

Yesterday as the girls and I were making dinner, Reegs told me she didn't ever want to get married.  This is not the first time she's made this declaration.  She once told me that when she grows up she's not going to get married, not going to have kids, not going to have a car, and is going to be a hairdresser.

I can totally envision this, by the way.

An artist's rendering of my youngest daughter in about 10 years. Source
I decided to ask her why she didn't want to ever get married.  Keep in mind, I also don't want her to grow up feeling like she is under any obligation to marry, either.  However, I was curious so I asked.

"I don't want to get married because I don't ever want to have a divorce."

Cue massive parental guilt.

What do you say? Between the ex, the new wife and myself, we've tried to do what we can to make sure the kids aren't negatively affected by our situation.  It's taken a lot of compromise and a lot of putting our (okay, MY) own  hurt feelings aside in order to give the kids as stable an upbringing as that.

Still, it broke my heart to hear her say that and I couldn't help but wonder how much of it was some deep-rooted fear of emotional pain that was subconciously implanted (even within the womb) into her psyche, or if maybe I'm taking too much guilt on myself and that this is a more global fear that she's picked up from television, books and movies.

So what could I do.  I did some fast-on-my-feet parental thinking and told her that not everyone gets divorced and even if it happens, although it genuinely does suck, it's not the end of the world and people move on and get through it.   Had I been quicker I could have pointed out her Grammy and Grandpa who have been happily married for nearly 35 years now.

Still my heart broke a little.  I hope neither of my babies ever have to go through it.  I guess they are lucky enough that they were both too little to remember the really rough post-split aftermath, as Tierney was just a toddler and Reagan was a newborn baby.

*sigh*  I guess we all just do what we can, right?  Right.

11 comments:

  1. I think you're doing what we all do as parents. You're currently absorbing every ounce of guilt in a 5k radius. Maybe your daughter was just declaring her feminine independence? Maybe divorce is simply a natural fear as half of all marriages end in it? Maybe I'm simply being too positive? No matter how you look at it I wouldn't be too hard on yourself, but that's just me.

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  2. Even though I don't have kids, I was a kid once and I think you said the exact right thing.

    Divorce is brutal, but what comes after it can be better than what was had in the first place - where people are happier and still have great kids to show for it.

    Don't let it break your heart - I'm sure she'll be happy no matter what she decides when she's all grown up :)

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  3. Maybe Im too much of a fan of yours but I don't think you should beat yourself up over this one. Your kid seems to be a good egg and she has a good, funny, smart mom.

    My 15 year old has been through divorce twice with her mom and she's pretty level headed about marriage and children.

    Good song. Bof should be more famous than she is, you know.

    Happy Easter

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  4. Both of my kids have said the same exact thing. I would not worry yourself over it. They are young and will change their minds.

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  5. I still fear it and will continue to fear it after marriage.

    But you did well, and you can always mention Gramma and Grandpa if there is a next time.

    No one ever wants to fall out of love, I think.

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  6. You're right, we do do what we can. I prefer to refer to my first marriage as my starter marriage. That way it feels like less of an epic fail and more of an expected outcome...I'm going with that. It works for me.
    I don't mean to minimize your pain and your fears. I just believe that good parenting (and from what you've written, clearly you are doing all you can) does heal our children and does win out in the end.

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  7. marriage ends in divorce or death...that is what i told my daughter...


    you can live thru a divorce..death... not so much...

    i know that is no help, but kids are pretty resilient and a lot of change in attitude occurs as they age...

    my daughter still says she does not want a family but she is only 16...(for that i am thankful)

    a life of arguing and anger is a far worse issue maker than a divorce, IMHO...

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  8. My nephew Kyle said a very similar thing, only it was "I'll never marry because I never want to fight like that."

    Poor kid. His parents are still together, but perhaps they shouldn't be...

    Pearl

    p.s. And any artwork you create because of something I wrote? MAN do I want to see that! I love artists...

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  9. Oh children. I'd rather have my daughter say she's not going to get married than to run around telling everyone she and her brother are married.

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  10. Hi Andie. It's your brother-in-law here...thanks for the plugs on my blog by the way. Glad to see you're reading. You know how I much I want my friends and family to know about the stuff I write about and need to know. As for the kids, I can tell you from experience (Two divorces, three marriages and six kids later) that won't be the last thing to come out of their mouths. From "I'm never getting married" to "I wish you and Mom would get back together" (WHAT!) to "My friend said he was bi-sexual" nothing surprises me anymore. They are just figuring out their own identities and wondering where their lives will take them. You wonder what runs through their little minds everyday, you know. All we can do, and I can see that you are a great mom, is to continue to point them in a good direction and lead them to the right side of the tracks so to speak. The rest is up to them and believe me, with twin 18 year old girls and a 16 year old step-son, they find their own way! They grow up despite us and what we tell them. Keep your head up and keep being the great mom that you've always been. It takes a strong woman to raise two little girls alone as you have done. Kudos. Love, Frank

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  11. Awwhh thanks for that Frank :-) You're a good brother-in-law.

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!