Saturday, March 17, 2018

Family "Dates"

In the last 24 hours, I have heard about four impending divorces.  None of the couples involves are in our closest circle and yet, it's shocking to me.  I know that the stats say that something in the area of 50% of all marriages end in divorce but Dh and I have been very, very lucky in that we have only had one set of friends along the way who did opt to live life apart and so I am probably very naive.  It's also been on my mind as, on the last day of school before the break, a confident, smart and outgoing 5 year old girl entered the classroom, sat disconsolately on the corner of the carpet and, when we asked what was wrong, she informed us that her parents had told her that her dad was moving out on April 1st.  She was despairing.

I don't really know what leads to that point of needing to be apart from someone that you loved so much.  I know, people change, wants change and circumstances can cause so much hurt.  We have a situation in our extended family in which we discovered back last fall that a spouse had been cheating (and it was discovered in a most distasteful way!) and we have all been rocked by it.  They are still together, though (although I suspect that may not be the final outcome).  I am not judging, it's just that Dh and I grew up in homes where we watched people struggle through it and both sets of grandparents are now very good friends and have exemplary marriages.  In our world, you just keep at it, you persevere and you hang in there.  We've been lucky in that, I think, because of the God end of it, nobody ever viewed leaving as an option, so people just didn't give up.  I think that has made a difference in that, when both spouses go into it with the understanding that it is forever and both are committed to making it work, it's easier.  I've seen cases in which one spouse is doing all of the work of the marriage and the other is either emotionally absent or on the edge of leaving, and I can't imagine how heartbreaking that must be.   It's just so sad to see all of that hope, all of those dreams and all of that love gone.  It's also hard because, as a teacher, I have seen what it does to children and the kids I have taught whose parents have divorced, are so traumatized by it all.  It's like a nuclear bomb has been dropped into their worlds and they spend a long, long, long time trying to pick up the pieces. 

I'm just musing here and again, I hope that if anyone actually reads this, that I don't come across as being judging.  If there is abuse, emotional, physical or sexual, if there is hatred and quite likely, in other cases that leaving is justified, of course, things need to end.  I am coming at it more from a sense of sadness and bafflement rather than of judgement or superiority.  It just makes me sad to see families disintegrating. 

So, what does this mean for me?  Well, it serves as a good reminder to me that I can't take my family or my relationships for granted.  I do tend to get really wrapped up in my own head and my own day-to-day stresses and I don't prioritize time with those who are important to me.  I've tried to remedy that this year by implementing a "date" monthly with each of my immediate family members - Pk, Ij and Dh.  It's been fun and so far, we've had so much fun.  Pk and I have gone to buy yarn and then to Starbucks to knit and drink tea and hot chocolate, to the mall for earrings and lunch and to Laura Secord to buy a Willow Tree ornament and for ice cream.  Ij and I have gone to Tim Hortons and Mastermind to explore Lego and to see a big exhibit of Scouting badges from the past and to have Booster Juice (his favourite) and, best of all, Dh and I have started having a weekly t.v. date once a week after the kids go to bed and this week, since grandparents were here, we went out to our favourite Japanese restaurant and savoured a delicious lunch (and it's a restaurant we have enjoyed for about 12 years).  It's critical that I make time and give them my attention and that is something from my January goals that I plan to keep as a regular thing as long as they are willing to enjoy it with me!

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