When You Grow Up Surrounded By Marriages Falling Apart

When You Grow Up Surrounded By Marriages Falling Apart

My mom and my siblings are all happier and better off because of it.
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I am reminded once again of the divorce epidemic in the U.S. as another family member of mine admits to a failing marriage. My paternal grandmother has remarried multiple times. My maternal grandparents never divorced but had a rough relationship for many years. My own parents are divorced. My uncle, my mom's older brother, just recently filed for divorce after eleven years of marriage.

My aunt and uncle, Chris and Lindsay, are parents to two kids. Their autistic son Andrew is a third grader and their daughter Brooke is in preschool. I know that these kids do not understand the change that is coming to their lives and that breaks my heart. On the other hand, I also know that it will be better in the long run. In my opinion, it is better for the separation of their parents to occur than for them to be surrounded by verbal and physical negativity as they continue to grow up.

Around family gatherings, for the past several years I always noticed the tension between the two of them. Lindsay was always extremely verbally abusive to my uncle. It seemed to be more acceptable since she was a woman. I also learned recently that she was physical behind the scenes. During arguments, she punched walls and cabinets. If a person starts by hitting objects, it is likely that their eventual target will be a person.

I am not saying that I am a relationship expert, but I have seen the progression occur in my own life. My father went from taking his aggression out verbally at my mom, by punching the walls, and finally towards my mom physically. I learned to walk on eggshells during my childhood for fear of being screamed at or of the bruising belt coming towards my flesh. More than anything, I do not want my cousins to experience the childhood that I did.

My family is Catholic and divorce is heavily frowned upon. No matter how bad the marriage becomes, it is expected to just work out the marriage somehow. I carry the unpopular opinion from those around me that divorce can be the solution, although not the easiest or happiest one. My perspective on the situation is that it takes a lot of guts to separate from someone you still love because this person is ultimately harming your happiness.

In my mind, this marriage should have ended sooner just as many others that I have seen. Sometimes the marriage should not have existed in the first place. Relationships can become complicated to begin with and the children brought into these divorces can be affected for the rest of their lives. The way that divorce has affected me was not always positive, but even at the early stages of my parents' divorce, I realized that it was the best for everyone involved. The situation between my parents has never been resolved, but now me, my mom, and my siblings are all happier and better off because of it.

Cover Image Credit: Trish Grant

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.

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Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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