I'm sitting here, looking at my girls watch our wedding video - or our "married movie" as they like to call it. It's a sweet sight, really. They've watched it before and I'm sure they will watch it many times again in the future. We like to sit down and look at wedding pictures and videos as a family on our anniversary each year as a way to celebrate our "family's birthday".
But in the last few weeks, Anna Beth has faced a harsh reality in this world.
Like always, she made friends fast when she started kindergarten - my little social butterfly. One friend just really attached to her and her teacher has even told me that AB helps this little friend throughout the day and is "good for him/her". She comes home talking about this friend almost every day.
When I helped chaperon their first field trip (ps...bus rides are worse as an adult), I met this friends mom. And I learned the story of all that their family is going through. In 3 simple words...
An ugly divorce. And AB's little friend is caught right in the middle.
You've probably seen or heard of a similar situation before...mom hates dad so she talks horrible about dad; or dad despises mom and tells everyone he knows about how awful she is in every way. And they forget the little people in their homes have ears, too. And they forget that those little people love mom and/or dad - even though mom and dad don't love each other.
And so Anna Beth has stayed up to date on a lot of things going on in her sweet friend's home life. And the harsh reality that two people broke the promise to love each other forever and to always be a family.
Please hear me - this is not a post about divorce itself. I'm not here to judge or make determinations about anyone's family and/or marriage. It's a post about the uncertainty that is now in my child's heart because she has discovered that divorce is real...because we've told her over and over and over again that we will always be a family and that we promised each other to always love each other the day we got married..
She looks at my wedding rings and asks, "Is this the one daddy gave you when he said 'Will you marry me?' and then he gave you this one when he promised to love you forever?"
Yes, sweet girl, that's exactly what these rings symbolize.
But that truth for her 5 year old little mind is shaken. Not only is she realizing that sometimes people break promises in general, but the foundational promise that she trusts - that we are a family, forever - can be broken in some families.
She came home every single day from school last week with questions.
"Mommy, do you really promise to always love daddy?"
"Yes, sweet girl, I promise you and I promised daddy and I promised God."
"Daddy, do you promise I'll never have to have another mommy because you'll always live here with mommy?"
"Yes, I promise."
Every day, y'all. Every single day.
My only guess is that something happened over Christmas break that is instilled in this friends heart and mind and they're still talking about it. Still processing it. Still grieving over it. Still brokenhearted... That's a whole lot of "junk" for her 5 year old friend.
So in an effort to still her heart, we dug out the "married" movie. Our wedding album will hopefully be back from Tennessee this weekend and we will sit down and look at the pictures over and over and over again. I will get out the photo album of all the planning and showers and candid shots from that beautiful day. If i had my dress here, I'd put it on for them and then give them a chance to wrap up in it.
Will it be easy to stay together forever? Nope - sure won't. Marriage is hard. Some days are harder than others. Some days flow perfectly as if they're written by the best romance author in the universe. But we've promised to be in it for the long haul. We've promised to give it our best day in and day out. We've promised to never quit. We stood in front of friends and family to make these promises before God and we want them to ALWAYS hold us accountable.
I see what this harsh reality is doing to my daughter. I cannot fathom how her friend feels.
If you would, please pray for Anna Beth - that her trust in us and the promises we've made will be restored and strengthened; for her friend - that his parents, who fiercely love him, would contain their anger with each other and protect him; and for Jacob and I - that we would set an example for our kids and visibly display our promises to each other and our kids every day.