Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Family Matters


I think it is common to imagine our grown-up family will be like our family of origin.  Or perhaps you dream it will be everything your original family was not.  For me, it was natural to assume life would continue in much the way it began: only I would trade the role of daughter and sister for that of wife and mother.  It all seemed so smooth and seamless.

And I set off on that path, or so I thought.  I checked off the squares for graduating college, getting engaged, married, etc.  The husband-wife relationship was more challenging than I expected.  I was disappointed and hurt, but remained committed and convinced that ours would be a
happy story.  Then infertility and miscarriages stole the last remnants of my idealized plan

The Lord eventually blessed me with three of the sweetest miracles and our family seemed to fit the ideal.  I sent a Christmas card each year with photos to prove just how 'perfect' we were.  But the reality was so different.  The family I portrayed was not the family I had and that fa├žade cannot be maintained forever.  The betrayal and failure of my marriage was the end of all I once believed my family would be.

I was a single mother.  And I learned there were gifts in what I thought would be the end of me.  This style of family suited me more than I expected and I found true contentment.  Yet I still had ideas of what I dreamed for my family.

So now I'm in a new season of blended family-hood.  Thankfully, I didn't have many expectations which has limited any potential for disappointment.  There are seven very distinct personalities with different histories ways of relating that are working to mesh in one home.  Often I'm not sure whether the teenage girl retreating to her room is just a need to be alone or a statement of how she feels about me.  I can't tell if the whiny acting out of a little boy is due to tiredness or a cry for attention.  I question whether I'm giving too much attention to my husband at the expense of my children or if I'm encroaching on the relationship he has with his daughters.  It's a very different family experience from what I've known and from what I expected. 

But here is what I know:
  • We are creating memories that will become treasures (it started during our courtship).
  • Each of us being stretched to more patient, less selfish and learn to live with others.
  • It's okay to have different relationships with different people, even within a family.
  • We all enjoy the touchpoints in our week when we connect: dinnertime and Sunday worship are my faves.
  • We all love Disney movies and vintage sci fi.
  • Laughter is so contagious!
  • We can make our spaces work for us - even if one bedroom doesn't have a door and we have to bring extra chairs to the table.
  • Home is a place where your heart feels safe, not an address.
 
Is your family today anything like what your family of origin?  Is it what you thought you would have?  Can you see the beauty in its imperfection?