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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rules, Expectations, Evolution

Mother and Daddy married 64 years and one day ago. Happy anniversary, Parentals! I'll see you Saturday and we'll belatedly celebrate.

David and Dezi tied the knot in July of this year and will celebrate three months on Sunday. Congratulations, you two.

In many ways the two families, grandparents and grandchildren, are similar. All four at the time of marriage were college graduates. All four share a strong involvement in their local United Methodist Church, though the branches didn't unite until 1968, ten years before David and Dezi were born. Mother taught in Goodlett and Quanah, Texas, schools before marriage. Dezi, while pursuing her Ph.D., has worked in schools, taught piano, and held a variety of jobs. Daddy and David proudly wore their Aggie rings at their respective weddings. They were so tied up in their jobs, getting away for the wedding trip was dicey. Daddy got the license without Mother because the Lieutenant couldn't leave his 1941 Army post long enough to get it with her before the ceremony. David's cohorts considered calling him on the wedding cruise to find out how to solve the crisis du jour.

Both couples, like countless before them through the centuries, came together to create a family unit. They brought with them rules and expectations. How different are the rules, 62+ years apart? How many are the same?

I had a capital murder juvenile hearing yesterday. Few things connected with it are funny, but one tidbit of information I learned today brings grins. The juvenile at the certification hearing (actual name of the hearing being Hearing on Petition to Waive Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Transfer to Criminal Court) had three retained attorneys. Bob is probably close to my age, give or take. Frank is somewhat older. Ryan is a brand new lawyer. Another young lawyer told me Ryan saw his role as a translator between the older lawyers and the juvenile respondent. The child didn't speak legalese and the lawyers didn't know jive or whatever a proper term for the language might be. (I don't, either!)

That feels like it fits here because of the difference in the two generations and the rules they create. Mother quit teaching school and became a housewife and, after 13 months, a mother. Dezi continues to work on her Ph.D. and works more than an hour away from the apartment. Mother expected to cook. Dezi is working on learning to cook, but I'm quite sure she doesn't feel an obligation to produce three meals a day. Besides, she's a vegetarian, and what she cooks differs from the requisite meat as part of each of the three meals Mother prepared. Dezi at her showers was comfortable David would know how to use the kitchen implements foreign to her. Mother wouldn't have considered Daddy's cooking a possibility though I'm sure he could at the time they married. Mother could knit and crochet when she married; Dezi's learning.

The rules matter to me right now as I struggle to figure out what rules were passed to me, which I developed on my own, and what ones I've chosen to set aside as passe or should so treat now. I treasure the strengths that run through the ages of families. I hope I passed more of them on than I did of the aspects that might hold a person back. Rules can be good, or they can destroy. It's time to let some of them evolve while preserving the rest. I hope I have chosen the right ones for each treatment and can do so in the changing times in which we all live. Can you?

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