Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Family Snapshot

Family is such an amazing thing…or should I say families and the dynamics that happen in them every day. Every day, we are surrounded by so many different types, styles and make-ups…it’s a wonder that anyone ever coined the phrase “traditional family.” Really, does such a thing exist? But really, does it matter?

I love my little family…father, mother and…well simply put, the light of my life! And in the last few months I have come to the hard realization that my family is complete. Hard realization because I LOVE being a mom. Having my little boy just gives me so much happiness…but I have limits, real or imagined, but they are my limits, and they tell me that this just needs to be enough. I’m okay with that!

I have also had to come to some other realizations in my life, the biggest being that no family (not even my own) is ever going to be perfect. Rain will fall, parents will fight and milk will always spill. But you know what, every day I am learning that it is okay. I’m also starting to think that perfect is an illusion that was created to make us all feel like crap when we have PMS! Ok, maybe not, but for whatever reason, every woman I know has gotten caught up in that need to be perfect. Misery loves company…so it’s good to know that I am not the only one who does this.

The hardest part about making my family work, and the struggles that it takes, is that it is hard not to feel the emotions that are happening in families around me. Right now, I am feeling a roller coaster of emotions for one family. Those around them are watching as a little family falls apart. But the roller coaster of emotions comes from the sadness of witnessing it, the awe of watching my friend show characteristics and grace that I could only dream of possessing and the happiness I feel knowing that we all get to watch it rebuild. The best part of the emotions is feeling confident that it will rebuild into something different…something new.

This week also presented some news on another family. This family is one I only know from a far. They are more like acquaintances to me, but there is a bond that connects us. See my son is named after a friend of my husbands. The funny reality is that it was really…just because we liked the name. But because the name is not common or heard every day, it creates a connection. Well, Big Corbin has been battling a brain tumor and as of recent, the prognosis is not so good. This little family is suffering in a way that I could never, don’t ever want to, imagine. Right now, the most amazing thing is that through it all they are fighting for their little family. They are doing the best to have as normal of a life as time and circumstances will allow.

On the other end of the spectrum there is another family that just confuses me. Oh this family makes me lose sleep at night…tossing and turning consumed with grief, anger and just plain old dumb-foundedness. Now, every family has a certain level of dysfunction, but it is how we chose to deal with it that is the true reflection of the effort. How is it that this family can make a conscious decision to live in chaos? I think the thing I struggle the most with is that the family operates on a hierarchy of selfishness. By no means am I posing as an expert on parenting or marriage, but this is not a tactic that works. The reality is that they will continue to wallow in self made misery – and sadly, we will probably watch as the next generation lives on to repeat the same pattern.

Back to that premise of the “traditional family”…

When I look around at the people in my life I can only say that I…and my son…are lucky to have such diversity in the families that surround us. From my best friend the single mom who has plenty of ups and downs with her own children (her family!)…yet has enough room in her life to take on more “children.” To my other best friend who’s family is a map of the world in both ethnicity and character - constantly facing challenges and obstacles…usually not of her own making.

Big ones, little ones, ones with steps, and some with no pets…traditional or not…thriving or merely surviving – you will find some that need your help, some that need your prayers – and sometimes you just sit back and laugh. Like I said…I love my little family. I love my big family too, the big family that is made up of all the people surrounding my little family - my lifeblood, my oxygen.