My Parents Set The Bar Too High

My Parents Set The Bar Too High

My dad still takes my mother on dates. My dad opens the car door for my mother. My dad buys flowers "just because."

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From the time I was little, I had the pleasure of watching my parents in love. They laughed, they smiled, they hugged, they talked, they went on dates, they bought thoughtful gifts for one another, they cooked for one another, they resolved problems, they did everything. When I would watch romance movies as a little girl, I always wanted to be the girl who found her prince charming.

I wanted to find the one. Just like in the fairy tales.

My mom always told me, "When you know, you know."

As a young girl, I did not really understand what she meant. As a kid, I played outside with boys in the neighborhood. I played soccer at recess. I bought posters of famous boys for my room. I crushed on boys. But one thing I never did was fall for "the one."

Growing up in middle school, I remember that one truth or dare game that spilled out my secret crush. I remember that one time someone dated me for an hour for a dare. I remember that one couple that kissed in the hallway in 5th grade. I remember it all.

That one health class where we learned where babies came from—where we laughed about the two funniest words on the planet (so it seemed) to describe our private parts. It all sounded so different.

My first kiss came along, I reenacted a "Romeo and Juliet" scene at the dead end of my street. But, one thing was for sure, I didn't fall for "the one."

Passing notes in class, one by one, discussing our crushes, and asking people to be your boyfriend or girlfriend with a "yes" or "no" box to check. We did it all.

Changing relationship statuses on Facebook, creating confessions for statues, oovooing with your friends, we did it all.

Wearing football jerseys of the boys we liked, saying hi to them passing in the hall, getting a "like" on Instagram, we did it all.

As I grew older, I realized not everyone's parents were like mine. Not everyone's parents shared that same kind of love. But, I also noticed not every love is the same. And, not everyone finds "the one."

High school is the real test. Some people find that high school sweetheart. Some people find that one person they want to be with forever. But most people are like me, they see every clear reason why he isn't "the one."

There is no time restraint on when you find "the one." The objective to finding "the one" is that feeling my mom always told me, "When you know, you know." Whether that takes you 20 years or 40 years, you want to find "the one."

During your first heartbreak, you may have thought he was the one. You may experience that feeling of emptiness. Your heart may be broken in two. But I promise you, that means he wasn't THE ONE.

Now that I'm in college, I'm surrounded by people of my generation mostly. I'm surrounded by boys who want a different girl every night. I'm surrounded by boys who think relationships are non-existent. I'm surrounded by boys who think dates are too much. I'm surrounded by boys who laugh at the thought of feelings.

Not all guys are that way. Some want one girl, one relationship, and may keep dating rituals alive from the past generations. But, one thing you have to make sure, do not settle if he isn't "the one."

Dating around can be fun, it can give you experience and show you what you like and don't like, but in the end, you want to choose "the one."

For me, "the one" needs to have those same goals and qualities that I have watched within my parents from the time I was a young, little girl.

He needs to laugh at my dumb, corny jokes.

He needs to smile while staring at me across the room.

He needs to hug me and never let go.

He needs to talk to me whenever I need him.

He needs to cherish "dates." Whether we are at home cooking or going to our favorite restaurant, he needs to enjoy it.

He needs to put together a thoughtful gift. Even if that means a hand-written card, it will mean the most.

He needs to want to cook for one another, whether he or I had a busy day, let's start cookin!

He needs to resolve any problems we face.

He needs to do it ALL.

Now, with all this being said, I am still a young adult. I am still entering true adulthood after college, but I am not super, super old. I have plenty of time to find "the one," but I do think it is important for every young female to keep in the back of her mind. I see so many people settling to have someone, just because, but in the end realizing, he isn't "the one."

As I sit here writing this, I'm smiling at my computer screen thinking about my parents' love. My dad still takes my mother on dates. My dad opens the car door for my mother. My dad buys flowers "just because." My dad cooks his Sunday dinner sauce every weekend. My dad hugs my mom every day. My dad talks to my mom in between commuting 6 A.M.-8 P.M. to NYC every single day. My dad solves any problems they face. He is "the one" and one day I hope I am lucky enough to find someone like my father to call him officially "the one" in my personal life.

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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We Need To Stop Treating Arranged Marriages Like Business Deals

We need to stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

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When I was thirteen years old, I spent my summer break at my cousin sister's place. She spilled steaming hot tea all over her thigh leaving a huge burn scar. The first thing my aunt said to her was "What would your future husband think about that scar? You should have been more careful." My cousin was just fourteen.

Growing up, we are made to believe that marriage is the most important thing in a woman's life and is going to be her biggest achievement. I thought it was hideous how we were made to believe this and pressurized to get married in fear of what society would think until I realized just how hideous the process of an arranged marriage itself is.

According to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2013, 74% of Indian marriages are arranged. Being the youngest sibling and cousin, I watched a lot of my older family members and relatives getting arranged marriages. Having spent most of my life in India, I have witnessed no other marriages than arranged marriages. It is funny to me how people have a checklist of superficial expectations like stereotypical beauty standards and unrealistic salary expectations. From publishing ads like "In search of a slim, tall, fair, very beautiful, homely girl who knows how to cook and sew" in the newspaper, the process of finding a groom or bride through an arranged marriage couldn't be more misogynistic and sexist.

Surrounded by all this, I penned down a poem in hope that we would stop treating marriages like business deals where the groom gets dowry in exchange for his willingness to marry and the bride gets a husband in exchange for dowry.

I

The glass bangles on her wrist jingled as she placed a plate of laddoos in front of the guests,

She wondered if this was the family that would finally pass her parents' tests.

"Oh! She is as fair as milk" the boy's mother exclaimed,

Her cheeks flushed to the color of scarlet under her dupatta as trained.

"He is too short" to her mother, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

II

When no suitable match was found, the search was still profound.

"Hush," the girl's mother whispered "Don't tell them about the burn on the leg of the bride"

"What man will marry her once he finds?"

Another man arrived, tall, fair, and handsome- he was perfect,

Except that huge mole on his cheek which left him imperfect.

"The mole doesn't complement his face" to her aunt, he didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

III

Still no luck in finding a groom,

Her father placed a matrimonial ad.

"Searching for a suitable groom, engineer or doctor, 25, fair, slim, vegetarian, no disabilities" the ad read,

The ad was published in multiple newspapers so that she could finally be wed.

Another boy arrived, but this time the tables turned,

"What? She can't cook?" the boy's mother was left concerned

"Oh, what a shame" to his parents' she didn't appeal,

The deal wasn't sealed.

IV

When everything had been tried, a Jyotish was consulted,

Vastu remedies for delay in marriage he suggested.

"Fast for sixteen consecutive days, the kitchen shouldn't be in the southwest."

Yet another boy arrived, tall, fair, slim, no moles- he seemed the best,

With everything from their checklist of expectations checked, everyone seemed to be impressed.

"But his earnings are so less," her father was left depressed.

To nobody he appealed,

The deal still wasn't sealed.

V

The number of grooms decreased as her age increased,

The girl walked in with a plate of laddoos, but this time from the southeast.

"Oh my god, the bride can't cook," the boy's mother noticed,

Thankfully the burn on her leg went unnoticed.

Double the dowry was demanded,

Her father's savings made sure the groom's family didn't leave empty-handed,

The girl's mother approved the boy, so did her mother's mother,

And her uncle, his wife, and their daughter

Even to the distant relatives, he appealed,

The deal was finally sealed.

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