Another kid told how her parents had been fighting a lot, so they decided to separate. She came home unexpectedly early one day to find her mom in bed with another man. While recovering from that distasteful shock, her dad called to say that she had a new baby sister that he had sired.
There was a third, equally disturbing narrative.
After telling their stories, the three kids turned expectedly to Matt for his tale of woe.
"I got nothin'," he said.
Married for 25 years, most of them quietly and happily, my husband and I have tried hard to make sure that the kids have a sense of security that comes from a home united. It may sound boring, but we love and respect each other and our kids see that.
Listening to some talk show counselors, I'm constantly amazed and disgusted with the attitude of people who think that relationships should be easily and quickly disposed of if they're not satisfied. If it doesn't make you happy, get rid of it. Unfortunately, kids are usually part of these self-satisfying decisions.
Whatever happened to making careful, well-educated choices, then standing by them? Do we really feel that we are not capable of doing that? Because that's what it looks like sometimes, with people playing house for a while, dragging along their kids, then finding out that oops! This isn't Mr./Mrs. Right after all. Time to pull up stakes and try again. And our kids are supposed to grow up able to make long-term commitments. By following whose example?
How are they supposed to learn that "happy" is a transient feeling, that what they need to attain is a peace that will sustain them in the difficult times, that will see them clear to being once again "happy."
Our lives are full of challenges and having a firm foundation on which to fall is a gift that parents can give to their children.
So, I'm glad that Matt had nothin'. I hope that we can continue to give him that.
I welcome your comments. Submit them to Robin.Goldsworthy@latimes.com