Friday, July 17, 2015

A Child's Memoir

   (Warning- There is a bit of rambling that happens!)

   Ever since we started to talk about divorce, and remarriage in my Family Relations class, I felt like I should share my personal experience with that.  I've given some brief backstory in other posts, but I've decided that I'm going to share the whole thing, or as much of it as I can remember anyway:) 

    When I was in high school, I knew there were many kids around me who came from single-parent or re-married homes.  A lot of them had gone down a path that I personally would never go down. And I remember thinking a lot of times that I could very easily be just like them, and how grateful I was that I wasn't like them. Even though I came from a "broken" home just like them, we reacted to the situation in different ways.
    I was only 8 years old when my parents got divorced (for those of you who are Mormon will recognize that this is the baptismal age--yes, my parents got divorced the year I was baptized).  Since more than half my life was "father-absent," I can only remember glimpses of when we had that "perfect" family.  I remember the Christmas my dad got us a beagle puppy, and how dang excited I was about it! I was even allowed to choose her name (I picked Chloe--I got it from Smallville because we used to watch that show).  I remember going to places my dad performed at and loving listening to him sing and entertain people (he would sing at restaurants and stuff--he sang songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, the "oldies"). I remember doing a parent-child talent show at my elementary school where me and my dad sang a duet using a Frank Sinatra song (I also remember being terrified to sing in front of people in a solo-ish setting...I still am that way).
    All these good memories allow me to remember a time when everything was perfect, at least in the eyes of a child, they were perfect.
    A couple years after the divorce was finalized, we moved from Michigan to Utah, so my mom could be closer to her family.  I was basically the only one at home (the youngest of 6, 4 of whom were living on their own, 1 was practically an adult) when the divorce happened.  Before my brother (the "practically an adult" one) left to serve a two-year mission in the Dominican Republic, I remember telling him how much I was going to miss him because I felt like we had become really close since the divorce happened and I was scared to see him go.  Over the next two years, my mom and I really bonded and for a while, she was practically my best friend.  When my brother returned home, things hadn't really changed, except he was now on the search for a wife (whom he married a year later).
   So when the time came that my mom was engaged, I'm not gonna lie, I had a really hard time with that.  After having my moms attention for the better part of a decade, I felt like she was being "stolen" from me and I felt alone, in a sense.  I was still having a hard time with it, so when the marriage happened, I honestly didn't think I would be able to go (not only scheduling issues) because I didn't know if I could handle watching my mom go off with a man who was not my dad. Since it was such a difficult thing for me, I was hardcore praying because I wanted to not have those feelings and I wanted my mom to be happy.  Suffice to say, things are better now.  It's still hard, but I think I'm becoming a better person because of it.

    (Whew!) After that long story, I just want to end with saying that very rarely are divorces the answer.  In fact, 70% of those who report unsatisfaction with their marriage reported satisfaction with their marriage 5 years later, if they stayed together.  SEE??? Divorce is not always the answer when things get hard in a marriage.  You might be thinking, "What do you know? You're not even married!" And yes, that is true...but I also know that marriage is the most important thing a man and woman could ever do, apart from bringing children into this world, of course.
    I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the Gospel.  Without it, I don't think I'd even be the same person. I don't want to even imagine what type of person I'd be, because I know it would not be good.  When things get hard, we just have to remember to keep on going.  We will fail, but the most important thing is that we get up, try again, and keep moving in the right direction.


I am far from being a parent.  So I can't say that I know what it's like to be a parent firsthand, but I have been able to glimpse what it would be like.
During my break from school, I go home and work.  While I'm home, I get asked to babysit my nephews practically every single day.  I love my nephews, don't get me wrong, but handling 3 little boys under the age of 6 can be tough, as my sister can attest.  I don't think I ever realized how difficult parenting can be till I started to babysit my nephews.  So from my experience with them and with being in my Family Relations class, I would like to think that I will be able to improve my parenting ability.
When it comes to parenting, one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is saying someone's a "bad" parent.  Yes, there are the exceptions to that where the parent really is just not good in any sense, but I like to be optimistic about parenting and think that there's a "good, better, and best" (thanks to Elder Dallin H. Oaks!) way to parent.
Parenting is a learning experience, much like it is for the child.  Parents may go with one way of punishment because it's something they read in a parenting book, but later they find that punishment was ineffective with their child, so hopefully they would realize what it is their child needs and find the appropriate punishment.  As the children learn about the world around them and test their abilities, the parents do as well.
Becoming a parent is a HUGE deal to me.  As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a mother.  This opportunity is a blessing. I think so many people throw that away and it's really devastating to see that become some sort of phenomenon in our world.
We have a Heavenly Father who wants us to return to Him and become like Him, and the best way we can do that is through parenting.

Until we meet again:) 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Fathers Love

   We talk about how vital the role of mother is, but the role of father is just as important.  Like I've said in previous blog posts, I was only 8 when my parents divorced, and during (and since) that time, I was living with my mom.  So for the past 10+ years, I haven't had much of a father figure in my life.  I'm not saying that to blame anyone, because it really isn't anybody's fault.  I'm saying it to show a point just how important fathers are.     
   In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," it says, "fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families." I KNOW the MOST important thing to take from this is that fathers should do these things out of love for their families.
   Fathers only want the best for their children.  Growing up, hearing "no" from a father is only his way of saying, "I don't want you to get hurt." Naturally, the child would only rebel and go against what parents say because they want to experience things, no matter the consequence.  Then the children later find that their father only said no because he loved them so much, he didn't want to see them get hurt.  Our Heavenly Father does the same thing.  Whenever we get the feeling (or prompting by the Holy Ghost) that we shouldn't do something, it's Heavenly Fathers way of saying, "I don't want you to get hurt." I think that is the greatest comfort to know of: no matter how we live our lives, Heavenly Father only wants to protect us from the things that could be harmful to us or others because of His love for us.

  The biggest act of love we all know is that of the Father's sacrifice for all of His children here on earth.  He sent His son, Jesus Christ, here to this earth so that He would suffer for our sins so that we may live with them again.  To me, that is the biggest act of love because no parent could ever imagine having to sacrifice their only (or any) child.  It just proves how much Heavenly Father wants us to be with Him again.