Thursday, August 11, 2011

Every day?

     I live in a nice, uplifting neighborhood in the suburbs of Seattle. Aside from some foreclosures that are still recouping, you really don’t get more cliché slice of suburbia than what you’d find here on my block. Last summer, I was standing in my back yard when some neighborhood kids came by our fence and started talking to me. I was holding Simon at the time, he was just a little baby, and Addie was playing in the grass. There were 7 kids standing there, all between the ages of 5-8 years old. The following conversation took place:
Kid: “How old are you?”
Me: “28”
Kid: “And those are your kids?”
Me: “Yep”
Kid: “Both of them?”
Me: “Yep”
Other kid: “Where are their daddies?"
Me: “Their daddy is inside”
Other kid: “He lives there with you?”
Me: “Yep, he does”
Other kid: “Every day?”
Me: “Every day”
Kid: “Is he a good boyfriend?”
Me: “He is! But he is also my husband, we’re married”
Kid: “Oh you’re married? And you have two kids? And you live together every day???”
Me: “Yep! Every day”
Kid: “Oh your kids are so lucky. I wish my parents lived together, or that new boyfriends wouldn’t come”
Me: “Lots of situations make a family, but I am definitely happy that I get to live with mine every day”
Kid: “I am so jealous. I want an every day family”
Other kid: “I would do anything to get to live in the same house all the time and have my family together”
*insert general murmur of agreement from the rest of the group*
     I went around the circle and asked whose parents live together and there wasn’t a single child out of the seven. Some lived with moms, some with grandparents, one with their dad… but there wasn’t a single kid that lived with their brothers, sisters, and both parents on a daily basis. All of the kids were part of families that were either divorced or never married to begin with. The fact that Sam and I are happily married with two children was a total fairytale to this group of youngin’s. A few conversations that mirror this one have happened since with other neighborhood kids and I nearly always walk away with the same impression.
     It’s so strange, this time in which we live. I am glad that people are able to get out of abusive relationships, I know that many people have suffered in the past because of social stigmas or the illegality of divorce. I am also glad that people are free to find happiness if they don’t currently find themselves in a situation that brings them comfort, joy, peace, or hope. Both of my parents, in fact, were married to other people and were divorced. They met each other shortly after their divorces and made a new start. My older brothers have a different dad than I do, but I never really understood that that meant that they were my step-brothers because they were legally adopted by my dad and we lived together full-time. As far as I was concerned, we were a family—through and through.
     Having that as my background, I definitely know and believe that some marital divisions and split families do result in something beautiful, steadfast, dependable, and eternal. Out of heartache can rise a brighter future. I just didn’t see that in the faces of any of those kids. They were so bummed out. They just want to 1) have a stable family and 2) have the privilege to be with that family on a daily basis. I really truly hope they can have that in their lives and I am just so grateful to be able to create a true home for my family.

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Kudos to you for your "Lots of situations make a family" response. What a humbing/perspective-giving experience.

kevandcan said...

Great post - and how terribly sad for those children.

Kris and Megan said...

how heartbreaking for those kids. you obviously know my family is a yours, mine and ours type, but like you said, we still lived together and had a great life together despite the tough things of the past. it is so sad to think of all these kids who are born into situations they cannot control, how unfair. makes me more motivated to do all I can to create a good home for my kids.

merrilykaroly said...

Wow. And that they would notice that and want it so badly! Yikes, I forget how good I had it.