Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011 4:11:53 PM
I have won the lottery. Not the type of lottery where you buy a ticket, hit the jackpot, and are financially set for life, but rather a lottery that is more genetic than monetary. By using the term “genetic” I mean that it was passed down from my parents by example, not DNA. Unlike over 11 million other children in America, I can say with confidence and assurance that my parents have never been divorced or separated since their marriage. The reason this has such a huge impact on me is because they have set an attainable example that I will aspire to follow for the rest of my adult life.
Growing up, it was instilled in me that there was a natural order for navigating adulthood and I was expected to follow it: high school, college, career, marriage, and children, in that order. My grandparents and parents followed this example. Even though society has changed since the times when they got married, I still want to follow in their footsteps. This is not just traditional, but also stable.
Divorce is uncannily common in society today, and I see it everywhere. I have friends who have divorced parents, and you can hardly open a tabloid without some announcement that a celebrity couple is separating. As I get older, I am beginning to realize that my parents are becoming the exception, not the norm. My parents have given me a stable home environment for all 15 years of my life, and I am confident that that will continue when I go to college, get a job, get married, and have children of my own.
I know what constitutes a healthy relationship. My parents argue in front of my siblings and me. Not about personal matters, of course, and not often, but they quarrel about everyday things. It never lasts long, and they always make up afterward. There is never violence or vulgar language. It was instilled in me from childhood that every relationship has its flaws, and sorting them out instead of hiding them is a healthy way to fix the problem. I remember one night in sixth or seventh grade when one of my best friends, and only child, called in the late evening, trembling and crying because her parents were fighting. I remember holding the phone close and reassuring her that everything was going to be all right and that it would be strange if her parents didn’t argue every once in awhile.
Part of what makes a healthy relationship is not only arguing, but also how my parents show each other they love each other in front of my siblings and me. Every day, we see them have open dialogues about their love, and they hug and kiss in front of us as well.
My parents have shown me what marriage is really like when you have patience and love. I want nothing more than to take the winnings of my genetic lottery and apply it to my own adult life and follow in my parents loving and supportive footsteps.