Life Style

The adventure of the family SME

“A couple with children is like an SME. » I can still hear this revered colleague, 25 years my senior, at the coffee machine. I had just had my second child. With his airs of Gandalf come back from everything, he made me smile gently. “Don’t laugh, it’s very serious”, he clutched, unfazed, sipping his espresso.

He told me how several friends of his generation wavered when they reached their sixties, without having really seen it coming: “You retire, your kids leave; the family SME is simplified. All those things that used to take you and your wife are evaporating. You meet face to face. And you realize that the rest is not going to be so simple, that you may have neglected your relationship. »

Existential jerks

Morality: living together is a real job and it would be unwise to consider that raising a brood, planning vacations and filling the fridge alone constitute a viable horizon for two beings who love each other. Worse, they could even serve as diversions, saving the couple from having to confront important questions that erupt in their history. Ten years later, the wisdom of this sidekick is still with me. Perhaps because, having passed the forties, I helplessly witness the first existential shocks in my friendly circle.

There are those who break up with a bang, trying to preserve their children as best they can. Those whose distance widens quietly, inexorably, as in a novel by Houellebecq. Those who, at the cost of a thousand efforts, manage to overcome a bad patch. When you get married, nobody gives you a flight plan. And do not believe that being a believer protects you from going off the road. Faith is not a sesame against misfortune.

The truth is that every couple does what they can

In this respect, it seems to me that the discourse held in the Church is sometimes disconnected from “real life” by advocating an unattainable ideal. I remember this priest who recommended to the bride and groom a dinner alone together once a week, at least one weekend a month, and one week a year. Seriously ? Some may succeed. But do the guides who punctuate this advice full of common sense measure the logistical contingencies involved in such escapes? Unless you have an army of relatives available, it’s simply impossible.

→ PARENTS-CHILDREN. Reinventing the couple after a birth

The truth is that every couple does what they can. And even when one manages to escape, the household remains a central, permanent subject of concern. One evening, a few years ago, the children’s babysitter called me panicked: “Sir, your son is missing. » Suddenly, we return pronto, too bad for dinner. The fugitive was not far away, quietly hidden in a dressing room, quite proud of having played a dirty trick on Nanny McPhee. In short, the “family SME” always ends up remembering your good memories. But that’s also why we love it.


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