Today’s word is Family.
Growing up if you had asked my definition of the word family it likely would have depended on which part of the family you were asking me about or what activities were going on or just what mood I was in. Now that I have lived so far from the family I grew up with for so long and have watched my kids grow up without cousins nearby or both sets of grandparents nearby, my definition is likely very different than it was then.
There are days when I’m glad to be so far from some of the stuff that goes on and there are days when I wish I lived closer. There are days I wish my nieces and nephews could just walk across the street and into our back yard to play, I actually did live that close to 2 of my cousins for a while! I’m sure I’d prefer it to be family to the neighborhood kids that are in my back yard! I don’t mind the neighborhood kids coming over, I mind them not leaving! LOL there are days when I wish the kids could just walk next door and go hang out with their grandparents for the day while I do laundry and or watch a movie or read a book while drinking hot tea.
I miss my family that all lives so far away, but I have an awesome blessing that my great grandparents didn’t have. I have Skype, FaceTime, and FaceBook! Yes, I just called FaceBook a blessing! LOL There are days when FB is a pain in the rear and too much drama. But, it also helps keeps families connected and in each others lives.
When I go back to visit, I receive hugs that tell me I am loved and have been missed! When we go visit My Man’s family, I get those hugs too! I didn’t grow up with them, but they love me just the same.
Family is not always about blood lines. More often than not, family is about choice. Choosing to love. Choosing to forgive. Choosing to enjoy. Choosing to be a part of the family.
Ok, I hear you, but I didn’t choose to be born. True, I can’t choose my parents anymore than you could choose yours. And my kids can not choose their parents either. God chose our parents. But we can choose, as the parent and as the child, to love and forgive.
I only have 1 sister, she’s 10 years younger than I am. I didn’t choose her really, but I did pray and ask God for a sister for a looooong time. When she was born, I started second guessing that request. It didn’t take me long though to take her under my wing and care for her, much like I’ve seen my oldest daughter do with her younger siblings. Sometimes I think I ask her to do too much with them, then I realize I didn’t ask her to do that particular thing and that she saw a need and chose to fill it. She chooses to love and to forgive her siblings on a daily basis and just as importantly, she chooses to participate in their lives in a way that enriches and encourages the whole family. There are days when Brandi is my role model!
Sometimes people will say that someone hurt them too much to forgive and love them, forget about participating in their lives anymore. I know some amazing people that have been through some pretty rough stuff in their lives and they have chosen to forgive, love, and participate. I know that these people do not do those things on their own though, God has worked miracles in their lives in ways that boggle my mind.
Family is a team that whether we chose our team mates or not we are on the same team. It doesn’t always seem that way. There are 7 people in my immediate family alone, that’s a lot of different ideas, wills, wants, needs, and me stuff going on under one roof. One thing we are all learning, and not always in a pleasant way, is that we need to let go of some of the me stuff or at least see how the me stuff affects the team and if it can be a family thing at a different time. We are learning to serve each other. As I mentioned earlier, I have 1 sibling and she is 10 years younger than I am. At 10 years old there was suddenly another person in my home that had me stuff going on that took precedence over quite a bit of the families me stuff, but she grew and that me stuff changed. Honestly, I never had to sacrifice much me stuff for her. And as she got older I included her in a lot of what I was doing, even when friends wanted her to go away.
Anyway, I didn’t have to sacrifice a lot or learn to serve others terribly much when I was at home as a kid. Then I got married, I had to learn to serve my husband. I was never taught that, I saw it modeled but never was told it was something I should do and would have to do. And I never realized how much my mom served or sacrificed for me. I was at school all day so I never saw her deep cleaning. I had to help clean on the weekends before we would go down Granddad’s and that was usually a battle and that was usually just dusting.
I’m learning right along with my kids to love, forgive, participate, and serve.
What are you learning with your kids?