Thursday, November 22, 2012

Changing the Family Tree

Little G and I were talking about her best friend the other day, and about T's parents. As we were talking, I thought about the friends she has, and the families she sees the most often, compared to what I grew up with.

T's parents have been married a little longer than My G and I have. They're fun, caring, welcoming people who seem to like my little girl nearly as much as I do. I love having T over to our house, too.

Little G also has friends R and B and E-- they, too, all have have families where Mom and Dad have been married for a long time, are committed to each other and to family, and who are raising their girls to be terrific people.

Then I thought a little bit more about my friends. I've been very blessed to have the most amazing friends, many of them for 20-25 years or more.

J and J have been married for 16 years. I know a lot of what they've fought through to get to this point. They are wonderfully committed, funny, loving, and they are determined to give their kids a good life and to raise respectful, thoughtful kids.

K and D have been married since she was a baby. No, really, they met in high school and they've been married for 20 years and together for (I think) 24. Their kids are super-smart, funny, caring, and individual.  I love this whole family.

R and N have been married for 22 years. Their son, C, is expected to be respectful and to be independent.  He's had some "stuff" to overcome, as have they, but no one in that family takes it as an excuse to give up. In so many ways, they are our Army Rock.

As we grew up, many of these same friends had few to no examples close to them of happy, healthy marriages or families. There were issues of divorce, abuse, trauma, and worse.

Little by little, we are surrounding our kids with examples of marriages and families that have what it takes to stay together. My G's parents have been married for 44 years, and his grandparents were married for 60+.  My own paternal grandparents were married for (I think) 50+ years, but the best and closest example I had near to me of a healthy marriage was in the family for whom I babysat.

Little G's family tree will look different from mine.  Sure, we share many of the limbs, but hers has a chance to keep those broken parts from splintering. Her family tree, and that of her friends, could create a forest. My G and I grew up during the divorce epidemic of the I'm seeing hope that we might be turning this around. And Big G and I are part of it.

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for that.

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