~By Debbie Dippel~
In my first post I mentioned that I didn’t want Carla to struggle with the same fears that I did. As a child I had many fears that I kept hidden inside and carried these into my adulthood. I won’t list them here but will focus on the one that I believe most impacted my relationship with Carla, which was the fear of being single.
Some words/phrases that pop into my mind regarding singleness are: “old maid”, “spinster”, “she never married” (which sounded to me like a tragedy) I once had a family member ask me the question regarding my children who are still unmarried: “What’s wrong with them?” Another comment that stands out in my memory during a family get together is “Life doesn’t begin until you are married!” I remember hearing comments about single women like, “She is being too choosy” and “What is she looking for?” I felt afraid of what people would think about Carla and how she was raised.
I believe that being the youngest in the family contributed to my desire to “keep up” with my siblings. They all married very young, from the age of 17 to 20. I was married just before my 22nd birthday and often said “I was the old maid in the family by the time I got married”. This sounds ridiculous to me now but it was a huge deal to me then. The need for me to “keep up” carried on with our children. As their children dated, married and had children, I felt the anxiety that my daughter keep up with them. We had children close together and so the weddings should also occur close together, followed by grandchildren.
Being slim was also very important to the women in my family. In my mind, this was connected to the possibility of attracting a man. So for Carla, the pressure was on to be slim. I was concerned for her happiness but my fears clouded my ability to see her as an individual person who had every right to live her life as she was created to live. I thought I knew what was best for her and what would make her happy.
I had a different relationship with my son. By the time I had him I had dealt with some of my fears about parenting and was more relaxed. In my mind there was no stigma attached to being a single man, in fact, there was something attractive in being a bachelor. I enjoyed our relationship and was not eager for him to have a girlfriend. When he had a girlfriend, (which he usually did) I didn’t have much time with him and may have felt replaced. I did not dislike his girlfriends, they were nice girls, but when they broke up, I felt relief. I feel ashamed to admit this and want to say that this has changed and I am very happy with the relationship he now has and am excited for their future together.
I am certain that my marriage played a large part in the dynamics that occurred between me and my children. I may expand on this in a later post.
This blog has been an excellent platform for the truth to be told, and along with the truth, freedom. I am in the process of learning to live free and allowing my children to live in freedom as well. I am getting to know Carla as a beautiful woman inside and out and I love spending time with her. It is a work in progress and backslides occur, but we are moving forward in the right direction.