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Ran Off, Got Hitched

I mentioned last June that I was going to be a grand uncle. About five months ago, my niece gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. Last month she ran off to Nevada with the father, whom I’ve never met. A few days ago they got married. He is joining the Marines, and my niece is thinking about enlisting as well.

My sister is not happy with her daughter’s choices. She didn’t like her moving away, and she called her marriage the “worst mistake of her life.” The irony there is that my sister also had a child and got married at a very young age.

I hate to think of them putting their lives on the line in this misbegotten war. I wish them well, of course. The truth is that I hardly know my niece. I guess their child and our child will be first cousins once removed. But it seems probable that they will be almost complete strangers.

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  1. Marion Marion

    Don’t be surprised, you might find your sister’s daughter spending summers with you while your sister deals with whatever. It’s happened, particularly when the brother is so understanding!

  2. all will be well…takes time.

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  3. The whole time I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I was told by everyone that getting a girl pregnant and having a child at a young age was the worst possible thing that could happen to me. That it would ruin my life.

    Now friends who made that mistake have kids who are about to go to college and my fiancee and I struggling to start a family. I think the parents use that “too young” line because they are afraid they might have to raise the baby themselves.

  4. Lee Lee

    I became a father at a young age. It hasn’t ruined my life by any means. Yes I will say that in the beginning it was truly difficult, but that point has passed.

    Her mother and I have went in totally different directions since then, as I have become a small business owner, she has become everything she hated when we were together.

    You’ve got to take it in perspective, as it may be the best choice for her. I don’t really agree with this war, at all.

    I must say though, I have a friend that I went to school with who is a marine and a proud momma of 2 boys. I think she is proud of what she has done for this country and her self.

  5. David David

    Military recruiters are notorious for lying. The first thing they tell you in basic training is “I don’t care what your recruiter told you ” blah, blah, blah. I’ve seen stories on the news about military parents gets deployed simultaneously.

    Besides, even if they were able to “alternate” between deployments (which they won’t), that’s still a horrible upbringing for a kid.

  6. Garvey Garvey

    For many people, enlisting in the military is a path to a better life. Isn’t it pretty to sit in our ivory towers? Quite the judgment-fest here.

  7. Garvey, I’m taken aback by your comment. Who’s being judgmental? I expressed concern for their safety. Lee related a positive story about a military parent. David made a negative comment — he just got out of the Nat’l Guard — but I’d hardly call this a “judgment-fest.”

  8. Garvey Garvey

    Sorry, B, I overstated my case. The comment that it’s “a horrible upbringing for a kid” was what rubbed me the wrong way.

    One comment does not a “fest” make. Mea culpa.

  9. David David

    Here’s what I meant about horrible upbringing.

    Let’s say the parents’ deployments do alternate, and let’s say both return from their respective deployments physically intact (hardly a given). It means the child’s rearing will be done continuously by someone fresh off the battlefield, hardly the ideal mental state to provide patient, nurturing care. If you’ve followed the plight of veterans returning from the war, they suffer profound problems of readjustment upon returning home.

  10. David, it was clear (to me anyway) that you were speaking out of concern for the welfare of my grand nephew. Your second comment bears that out. The realities of war are ugly to confront, no matter if you think the war is just or not. Moreover, I really am concerned about my niece’s new husband getting suckered in by unrealistic promises from a recruiter desperate to make quota. So I appreciate your perspective.

  11. Garvey Garvey

    Yeah, I get it. There are a lot of situations that are “less than ideal” for raising kids. So we each try our best, given our circumstances.

    “Throw a rock in the air…you’ll hit someone guilty.”

  12. If they are both enlisting at about the same time and are both fresh to the military, the tough part will be ensuring that they can get deployed at the same place at the same time, and there’s absolutely no guarantee in that. There is a program called “joint spouse” that they absolutely should sign up for that will try to get them at the same bases, but if one of them trains to be a xray repair technician (or whatever) and the other is infantry, and there are no x-ray machines at infantry bases, then it can cause problems. If one of them had been in the military and the other decided to join, the situation is a little bit easier; both of them being Marines also makes it easier.

    And that NPR story above has to do with custody battles when one person is deployed. If you’re divorced and your ex is trying to get the kid and their lawyer can paint a bad picture of you because you’re deployed overseas, that’s a completely different but still very fucked up problem.

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