A time will come when your child comes to you with a hurt, and it won’t be the superficial scrape on their knee, or the worse but still small conflict with a friend, it will be hard.
I can tell when something is up with my children, in that same way any of you can tell when something is up with those you love. My eldest is one that no matter the size of the hurt it must be pried out from her, and I’ll be honest there are times where my patience doesn’t stretch to this push / pull to get the problem out. So it was the other day, playing the ‘what’s wrong’ ‘nothing’ game, I was getting frustrated and ready to just give in and leave her to sort through whatever it was.
Thankfully she reached her tipping point before I reached boiling point. The words tumbled out and bared her fresh raw emotional wound.
A close friend is being married soon.
I say being not getting as it is clearly an arranged marriage. Of a seventeen(ish) year old girl. To someone she barely knows. In Gaza.
I’ve always tried to teach my children to be open to other cultures, and to not judge them looking through our cultural lens. But how can I reconcile this, this wrong that sparks fear in my child. That puts another child in the sudden adult position of wife, but not wife as we see it but wife as an object to be passed from old family to new.
I don’t condemn arranged marriage as a whole, I do feel it can be an equally valid path to a fulfilling marriage, in the circumstances where both parties have a true and unfettered final say in the arrangement.
I do condemn the idea that a young girl is ready to be pushed in to this role before finishing her education (although she will be “allowed” to go to university after the marriage).
Since I was told, I have been trying to process this in parallel to my eldest trying to process this. I watch her and the freedoms she has, the choices that I would never take from her. And there’s a sorrow, a sadness that this milestone has been reached that finally there is something I can’t fix, or rationalise, or soothe. Because while we can look at the positives, nothing will change that deep sadness and fear for a future that was decided too soon and in a context that we cannot and would not bridge.