Thursday, March 20, 2008

Children Never Grow up

Whilst forcing my young nephew to sit at the table and finish his breakfast, I have made a discovery. It's a small one. I might just be about the last person on the earth to realize this, but I am happy with myself for it.

For breakfast this morning, My Young Nephew wanted something he hadn't tried before. I insisted that it wasn't very tasty, and that he might want to have something else. He screamed and cried and jumped up and down until I, frustrated with him, gave it to him with the warning that he must finish the whole thing or he will not be having lunch. That will be his breakfast, lunch and dinner until he finishes it. He agrees airily as he opens it up and starts munching. He gets about halfway done before he decides that he is bored with it, and starts to throw it away to avoid having to eat the rest.

About midway through this battle of wills, I realized that alot of the times, grown ups are like that too. We adults are so adament about starting something new, like a relationship, or a job, or some other sort of thing that takes commitment, and we just dive straight in. We don't think about the possibility that we might get tired of it halfway through. We commit to something without really knowing what that commitment means. Alot of the times, we find that it wasn't what we wanted at all, and we try to just throw it away to avoid finishing what we started.

I am thinking about relationships. Both of my sisters have gone through seperations. Both of them are because people are unwilling to fully commit to things. The Older sister got married and it was a fairy tale come true for her. She had a nice guy whom she loved and got along well with. He had a job and a car and of course, flaws. At first, the flaws were things she found adorable. She loved the way he would go out with the guys all night. She loved how rebellious he was. She loved the way he seemed to just not care about being responsible. Maybe it was because she wanted a challenge. Maybe it was because it gave her the opportunity to be the "adult half" in a relationship. Be responsible for things that she hadn't had the opportunity to be in charge of before. I don't know. When they had kids, the endearing ideals, the travelling from apartment to apartment, living from paycheck to paycheck life was not enough for her. She had babies to take care of. She had children that she needed to feed, bathe, shelter, and clothe. He had addictions that he needed to satisfy. What was once an endearing tendancy of his to quit an unfair or boring job to paint or "be an artist" while he finds another one, became a cause for concern. Surely, two adults could live like that, but not a family. A wife and child could not be supported by "fix-it" jobs. Oh the talent he had. If only he had been committed, the relationship and the family might've stood a chance. But he hadn't grown up yet. And taking care of a family while taking care of his addictions and whims proved too much for one weak-willed man to handle. Eventually, My sister got tired of his promises and his addictions, and his friends. She left him for the good of the family.

If only people would realize that things like that take committment and hard work.

My other sister. She had a boyfriend that loved her and cared for her. He had made mistakes in the past, they both had, and it had been a rocky relationship. They were on again, and off again for years. When he proposed, it was just after a rocky and complicated off again. It seemed that he would shape up. He was, after all, in the military now. He had gone through training and was turning out to be a responsible young man. Marriage seemed like the right thing at the time. He was growing up, and was looking to settle down for awhile. But again, lack of committment and foresight brought chaos. One day, Mr. Army boy comes home from work and tells my sister that he is too young to be married. None of his buddies are married. They all are free to do as they chose. None of them need to check in with the wife for permission to go out. It's as if he has another mother telling him what to do. She is surprised, and cannot grasp what he is saying. They talk about it. She thinks that it must be because he has cheated in some way. He denies any such act of dishonesty. She insists that it was okay, and that he could tell her. She wouldn't be mad if there was more reason behind this than just "I'm too young to be married". He denies it. He would never do anything like that. She finally sees the base chaplin. Just to see what he says about it. The chaplin gives her this analogy:

Your husband is on a bridge with a rope. He has one end in his hand. He throws you the other end. He jumps off of the bridge. How long are you going to hold on?

It made her realize that if she wanted to move forward in life, she needed to drop the things that are holding her back. She finally decides that the relationship she has with her husband is dragging her down and holding her back. As long as he refuses to grow up and be a responsible husband, she cannot be with him. They divorce, and she moves to Atlanta with our cousin.

It seems to me that many many people only want the good times. They want the frosting on the cupcake, and will not eat the cake part when they come to it. They want a relationship, but refuse to grow mentally or spiritually to maintain it. A relationship is a living thing. It changes and grows and can be wonderful if those involved change and grow with it. But when they don't, or can't or won't. That's when things like this happen.

That's my little bit of wisdom for today. Eat the pizza and the crust. If you try something new with a commitment to finish it all, don't smash it on the floor when your aunt isn't looking and then refuse to clean it up once she turns around and finds the mess. Geez, little kids, huh? Whattya do with em?

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