C is 11 years old.
She is also very cynical when it comes to love.
When I say "love", I mean the kind between a man and a woman. The "Grown up kind." I guess I don't really blame her. She has seen the relationship between her parents disappear. Not only did it go away, but it went away in a blaze of fire and hurtful words. In fact, neither one of them can say a nice thing about the other. Bee tries not to mention her at all...and when he does, it's never very nice (This isn't really at the kids. More like when he is talking with other adults, but he forgets C is always within earshot of her dad and she pays close attention to what he says) and her mom always laces everything she says with insults about Bee. Sometimes she disguises them so they don't outwardly seem like insults, but you are left with a feeling and a bad taste in your mouth.
C has also seen her uncle (Bee's youngest brother who got re-married in October last year) get divorced, most of her friends parents are single parent homes where there are boyfriends/girlfriends/cheating/mistresses, and most recently, the one couple she held high on a pedestal, the last true beacon of love and togetherness, Her Aunt Nicole and Uncle Jeff announced they are getting a divorce. This was a total shocker because they never showed signs of not being happy. They were the "perfect" couple. C took it hard. She cried and cried, and cried some more. Then she announced that she no longer believes in love between grown ups. She is never getting married because married people lie, cheat, and hurt each other and get divorced.
This broke my heart. I grew up in a stable loving home. My parents are still together. Most of my friends had that too. In fact, most of my friend's parents are still together too. I tried telling her that. I also told her how much I love her father. She didn't really seem to get it. Then, her mom wrote her a letter and made some sort of snide remark about the fact that Bee and I talked about marriage and how one day he stopped at the Wal-mart jewelry counter and asked what I thought about some of the rings. We had looked at one that was $189.00. C's mom thought that was hil-ar-ious that I could be "bought" with such a "cheap" ring. I have wanted to explain to C that situation, but didn't want her to know that I knew about what her mom said.
Then, last night we were on the way to practice and she was telling me about her friend M who used to live two houses down from us, then had to move unexpectedly. Apparently, M's mom was dating a guy named P. P lived in the house two doors down and had invited M and her mom to move in. All was well for about 6 months. Then surprise! This other lady shows up and P looks real uncomfortable. The other lady owned the house. P was HER boyfriend. She had gone to Ireland to care for her sick mother and left her loving boyfriend P to take care of the house (she was sending money too). Not only did P move in his girlfriend, but he was spending the money and not paying the bills. All three got kicked out of the house.
I looked at C and I said, "Listen. That proves my point. You go to school. You get good grades and learn a lot. Go to college and get a degree in something you love. Establish yourself. Take time to get to know yourself. Really get to know yourself and what you want. Then go for it. Settle for nothing less. Meet a wonderful man and settle for nothing less than the best. Make sure you love him, he treats you with love and respect. Marry the man who will give up doing something to opt for something that makes you happy when he knows you had a rough day. A man who will make your breakfast in bed because he wanted to let you sleep because you had a rough week. The man who works hard to provide for you and your family. Don't marry him because he asked, or because you live together and you feel like you should or because you have been together 5 years. Make sure it's real. Make sure it's right. You will feel it in your heart. Then you won't have fear. You won't have loneliness. You won't have doubt. Even if he gives you a $189.00 ring, as long as it's from the heart? None of that matters. If you pass the man who loves you through and through by because he doesn't have a lot of money, or he asked you to marry him with an inexpensive ring, or he didn't go to College, or he works a "blue collar" job, for a man who buys you a $5000 ring without blinking, and has a great job with great credentials, but doesn't really love you, then you will be unhappy and your marriage will fail....
I think I made my point :)