Monday, November 08, 2010

Kids Know

I love that driving in the car loosens my eleven year old's tongue. I don't know what magic properties allow her to speak more easily in a moving vehicle, but I'll take advantage of them every time.

Late last week, I was driving all the kids home from a "treat" dinner at Wendy's. A treat for them because we rarely do it, and a treat for me because Rob was away on a business trip and I didn't have to cook.

It's your classic win-win.

Anyway, Francie started chatting away and we somehow got onto the topic of marriage. She is just starting to realize that not everyone comes from a home where mom and dad are married and committed to each other for the long haul.

She's known divorced families and single parents for a long time, but I think she is only realizing now the tremendous impact that a person's family has on them. I think she has been talking about it, in an oblique way, with her friends at school.

So she turned to me and she said, "Mom? You and Dad never fight or ague about anything. You guys are never mad at each other."

I just laughed a little and said, "Well, we do disagree about things, but not often. And whatever we disagree about, we try not to yell at each other. We usually save our disagreements until you guys are in bed, because then we can work it out without being interrupted. It seems to work pretty well."

She came back with, "Well, yeah, but what I really mean is that you have never, ever given me a reason to think that you would ever get a D-I-V-O-R-C-E. You are always laughing. Thanks."

Whoa. She doesn't know it, but my little tweenager rocked my world.

We all know that parenting is a totally thankless job, and of course that's not why we do it. If we're lucky, our kids will grow up and realize we were not really the humorless ogres they thought we were.

But sometimes, we get a teensy tiny bit of affirmation to let us know that maybe we're not screwing up as badly as we thought.

Francie gave me that last week. She showed me that she might question a lot of things, but she's never questioned her parents' vow to love and cherish each other until death.

Thanks, Francie.

PS: And yes, she did spell out divorce just in case Fiver was eavesdropping. She didn't want him to hear the word divorce and get upset. God, I love that girl.


  1. I love her too :)

    What a wonderful compliment. I hope my kids feel the same way.

  2. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Hmmm...humorless ogre feeling something deep in chest...heart of stone is cracked by glow of love

    --Humorless ogre #2

  3. Wow, what a gift to hear those words from your sweet girl. I love when God uses our children to remind us of His divine care.

    Speaking of the D-word, my kids don't seem to get it yet, even though my sister has a son from a previous marriage and our best friends got divorced a couple of years ago. But I'm expecting more questions soon and praying for wisdom. We also have a couple of situations close to us involving children born outside of marriage. Time to be the grownup I guess.

  4. I want my kids to realize that one of the best gifts my husband and I can give them is our love for one another. Looks like Francie already recognizes that! Smart girl!

  5. I can't say that my husband and I never argue in front of our kids (it has happened!)...but overall, I think they feel secure. This is a good reminder that as they get older, it's even more important to mindful of how we treat each other! What a compliment :)

  6. This post (and Francie) = PERFECTION. :)

  7. Geez, Aimee, do you realize what a rockin' job you are doing with this parenting gig? That's got to make you proud of yourself!

    My 5 year old found out about divorce this summer when her best friend's parents separated. I was driving the kids when her friend told her about it. My daughter burst into tears and said "Oh, no, Annie, that is the worstest thing." And her friend just whispered back sadly "I know." I'll never forget that exchange. It made me cry later when I was alone.

  8. Great post.
    I have a divorced couple as parents right now who are so kind to each other and supportive. The daughter sees them as "great friends."
    Last year I had a couple who were divorced and they were constantly lying about each other and blaming each was ridiculous. Their son was miserable too.
    So I say...if you have to divorce-okay, but recognize the forever partnership you made as parents which trumps all of your ego and emotional needs.
    Kids first.
    Francie is ADORABLE.


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