I aspire to be like my matriarchs in a lot of ways, but not all. For instance, I do not want their luck in love.
I was raised by all women, at least for two critical years of my childhood. My father left Poland in search of better employment opportunities when I was 6 years old. Shortly after, my mother and I moved in with my grandmother, where we lived until we emigrated to the United States when I was 8 years old.
In my grandmother’s house, I was raised by my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. Four strong women, all having worked outside the home, all having run their families both financially and morally. All being less than lucky in love.
I heard a “relationships expert” once say that in a hundred years or so marriages and monogamous relationships will be a thing of the past, that it just isn't in men's genetic make-up to want to be with one person and is even harder to stick to that commitment. I think the “expert” was assuming that life and morals were going to carry on descending the way they have the last few decades, and if they did then maybe she would be right.
But human beings have a funny way of balancing things back out when they become too one sided. I do believe that right now it seems people (and especially men) have taken their eye of the moral compass and that is because we live in a throwaway society. How long have you parents had their TV, car, fridge freezer........their marriage. How many partners do you think your parents had before getting married? Now ask yourself the same questions. Men have and always will be the one on the relationship struggling to hold onto the rope that their partner is holding. It's just up to the females of the world to keep motivating them to hold on.
A few gray hairs. Sticking her tongue out at you. Curled up on our laps. Nudging her head under our hands so we’d pet her. This is the story of our miracle chihuahua, Chichi.
Chichi came into our lives in the midst of a family tragedy. Nine years ago, my father was in a vehicle accident which left him disabled. After 30 days in a coma and extensive surgeries, he resided in assisted living facilities for several years.
At the time of his accident, my siblings were in elementary school, and we didn’t have any other family in the United States. Until I was able to get discharged from the Army and move back to Virginia, my mother faced this tragedy alone for three months.
It was thanks to Chichi that my siblings were able to forget the emptiness left by my father’s absence, and my mother was able to focus on something other than what was essentially the loss of her husband. Years later, when my father was well enough to move back home, Chichi brought him great joy, too.
(Introduction: This is a three-part series by The Leader World columnist Karolina Dembinska-Lemus, who shares her story on deciding to start a family. Karolina writes mainly for our Relationship, Faith and Life sections.)
Part 1 - June 12
Growing up, I did not dream of a perfect wedding with my prince charming, a picket fence with a dog, or baking cookies for my 2.5 kids. Maybe it was my cultural upbringing or maybe it was the fact that I was raised with feminist ideals. Either way, as a child, I concentrated on child’s play. It wasn’t until I met my now-husband, Oscar, that I actually thought about having kids.