Wednesday, May 31, 2017

You Never Know Who's Watching

During her senior year in college my daughter found herself on the painful side of a break up. They had been together for five years and it was an incredibly difficult experience for her. At 21 years old, five years is one-fourth of your life-- it's a long time to spend with one person. They were on the downward slide to college graduation and planning on attending graduate school near each other. As far as my daughter was concerned, they were going to begin their lives together.

There are ways to handle break ups with maturity, kindness, and respect. Yet unfortunately, this was not the case with the boy whom I had grown to love like a second son. He was incredibly mean and hurtful to my daughter, which was way out of the character that I knew. She was devastated and confused, to say the least, that someone she trusted could treat her in this way.

My daughter leaned on me quite a bit during this time. It was frustrating for me, since this was the first time in her life that I couldn’t fix something. However, she knew I’d been through a divorce and a recent breakup myself and would be able to share a lot of my own experiences with her. I tried to show her that in the times of my life that were difficult, I stayed strong, kept my head up and took the high road. And that ultimately, these actions, as hard as they can be, lead you to a better place.  I would be lying if I said that my strength never wavered, but for the most part, I tried to set an example for my kids. I was hoping that through my struggles they would learn how to maneuver through relationship problems of their own and know that you can come out of these troubles in a positive way- as a better person.

Through it all I was amazed at how tough and tenacious my daughter truly was -facing it on a daily basis, head-on. She, too, took the high road on many occasions when I knew that it would have been so much easier for her not to.

In his senior year of high school, my son was on the opposite side of a break up. He had spent a major part of his high school years dating her on and off- but decided to end the relationship.

Her mother came to see me shortly after the break up. She wanted to thank me. She said that my son had set the bar high for any future boys her daughter dated and went on to say that even in breaking up with her daughter, he treated her with dignity and respect and she wanted me to know how much she appreciated that. To date, my son and that girl are still friends.

These events in my children’s lives were not only learning experiences for them, but they taught me so much as well. Although it was challenging at times for me to stay strong in my own situations it was well worth the struggle because I had been an example for my kids on how to handle themselves at similar points in their lives. They both demonstrated to me that they were able to navigate these circumstances positively- and be better people for it.

I read somewhere that you should strive to handle the difficulties in life with strength and fortitude because you never know who is watching. I know now, my kids were watching.

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