Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thinking Thursday - Family - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Since there is only one thing in my life more important to me than my writing (besides my faith of course), I figure a lot of "Thinking Thursdays" are going to center around it. That is - my family.

And not just Hubcap and the teens. But my mom and siblings, nieces and nephews and Hubcap's family as well. These are the key people in my life. The ones that get the last inch I have to give when they need it. I've got a pretty close family. Big too. But it's not all rose blossoms and cherry sundaes. Really.

With a closely-knit, large family, there is always someone going through something. It's like a law, or something. And you never, ever get to make a decision in a vaccuum. Or raise your kids that way. Or change your personal style without comment. (Mostly good in my family, but not always. ::g::)

For the most part, that's a pretty wonderful thing. I can call my mom when I need advice on anything and she's there for me. The advice sometimes comes out a little stronger than she intends as since her stroke a few years back, her filters don't function so well. Usually, that's pretty funny. Sometimes, it can make even the perkiest person growly. LOL Getting advice on raising my kids - that's not so easy to take. Especially those times my sibs and I hold pretty different viewpoints. We're all good parents, but we don't always agree on what that means. And we've probably all got the mental scars to prove it. :)

And just because family are the most important people in your life doesn't mean they are the ones that understand you best. Just ask my teenagers!

But a close-knit family means you've got a support network unlike any other. That you don't have to be lonely - so long as you don't push them away (a niece and nephew or two have had to learn that lesson along the way). It means that people who you love, love you back. And we all know not all families operate that way. Which I find heartbreaking. I just wanna love everybody, but especially my family, you know?

It also means that Christmas is a wild holiday and you celebrate more birthdays and anniversaries than the average person. I love presents - both giving and receiving - so for me, this is a huge benny. LOL And you don't have to go to a scary doctor appointment alone, unless you don't tell anybody about it. Big sisters will remind you to eat because you forget and so will little sisters. Nieces and nephews will hold a place in your heart a lot like the ones your own children have and even the most annoying family members are free to stop by for a cup of coffee and a cookie when they need to talk.

I wouldn't give my family up for anything! It astonishes me when people walk away from a good family - but I find it equally incredible when good people put up with horrific stuff from a bad one. (Back to the I wanna love everybody aspect of my nature. Sigh...)

I guess this is on my mind because one of my nephews took that walk a few months ago (not for the first time) and now he wants back in. It's not that easy, you know? There's a lot of anger to get through. Life isn't lived in the big dramatic moments only, it's lived in the day to day minutae. You gotta stick around for all of it if you want your relationships to work. Right?



sajmom said...

But family is supposed to be the people and place that you can fall back on. Life is rough and not everyone figures out their place as easily as others. I don't know you or details of what happened with your nephew but it seems to me that especially because of the wonderful qualities of a close-knit family, it IS important to take the prodigal child back!
Just my thoughs, absolutely no offense meant!

( I have a google alert for large families and your blog came up)

Denysé said...

Well put, as always. And well said. Families are funny, aren't they? They are fundamentally our core, our strength, and our hope for the future at times. I don't have much family, a sister, her husband, and my mom. I lost my dad only three years ago, and he was one of the brightest lights in my world. I have a brother who chose to walk away from all of us many years ago. He suffers addiction problems, and despite the endless efforts we've all made to help him - he's proven there are, sadly, people who won't be helped. He's so filled with hate, but pretends he needs no one. And no one wants him in return, so his cycle never ends. He doesn't seem to get that those people who are part of you are your support, your shelter, and your strength when maybe nothing else can be?

We all define family in different ways, and much as I always wanted lots of people around me once, I've come to understand that the few people who are my blood family are more than enough. Because I've been Blessed with a second family, the amazing gift of friends who are always in my corner, and who often share burdens in a way that our blood relatives can't. I remember recently telling one very special friend that he made sense of it all for me, when madness was the only thing I could hear in my head. That's a gift God gives us if we listen to Him and hold to our faith that love and hope are part of all our lives.

Families, all of them, are what make us who we are and then make us better than we might ever be on our own. When the extended family is part of it, then life is richer again.

Thank you, Lucy Monroe, for being part of my family - for Blessing me with your love and friendship, and your faith - every day. I love you.


Lucy Monroe said...

Hi, offense taken. There's no way I would ever share the details of my family's personal tribulations, but what interests me is other's view of the family dynamic. And I enjoyed yours. Agree with it even. :)

I absolutely believe family are supposed to be the people you can count on, but not use. There's a difference.

The thing about the prodigal son in the Bible is that he returned expecting nothing and was met with rejoicing. I think his heart was clear in the way he was walking toward his father upon his return. Without speaking a word, his father could see the humility and cautious hope he was feeling.

That is really different from an attitude of entitelment. My own children and my nieces and nephews know I am there for them. Full, stop. Period. This one included. He has an open invitation to call me daily to let me know how he is doing and to talk. I'm counseling him on what to do to repair the relationships he has broken, but like everyone else - he has to learn that he can't dump on the relationships most important to him without there being consequences.

The prodigal son squandered his birthright - losing everything. His future would rely on the compassion of not only his father, but his brother - who was still angry with him. While his father killed the fatted calf, when he was talking to his older son and explaining, he made it clear - everything he had belonged to the older son. When the father died, the prodigal son would be at the mercy of his brother and here's hoping he would have repaired that relationship so that he didn't end up feeding livestock again. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

Denyse...we must have been posting at the same time. I so get where you are coming from. :) And I am truly blessed to have you part of my "chosen" family. I adore my blood relatives, but love and care for my chosen family of friends as well. :)

flchen1 said...

Lucy, thanks for your post today--family is the best. And I agree, that it's a two-way street. Your family's going to be there for you, but it means that you've got to want to be there for them, too, and for the love and commitment to run both directions. Blessings to you and yours!

Lucy Monroe said...

Well, flchen1, I think you said it better than me. And more concisely too. LOL Thanks!

Brandy said...

I wish I had a large close family. But, my Mother passed years ago and I have my Hubs, 2 children and In-Laws. (Who I sometimes call the Out-laws. *G*) But, I have a father who I have not seen in years. I'm the one that walked away when I noticed after years of trying (he and my mom were divorced at this point) that I was the one doing all the work in trying to keep our relationship together. It's been over a year now and he has not called, not visited and it seems, not cared. With all families there is a give-and-take mentality, I was exhausted in being the giver at all times, when my Dad was too busy giving to his new family. He knows where we live, he knows our phone numbers and our email. The next move is his. I don't hold much hope for one, however.
I do have to say, I have met a small group of friends online I feel are part of my family. And I feel blessed for it.

Lucy Monroe said...

Brandy...I hear you. My dad was a lot like that and it hurts, but we are blessed to have our online family for sure and I'm glad you are part of mine. :)

Judy F said...

Lucy I wish I could give you a big hug. Families cover the whole spectrum dont't they, the highs and the lows.

My dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's recently and its really turned the family upside down. Seems all of it is falling on me and my sister. Though I have two brothers one really isn't able to help much the other just doesn't want to. Its a long story and I could type all day.

Just know I am thinking about you all. Hugs

Amy said...

My side of the family is not close at all. I was adopted and raised by my Maternal Grandparents(both who have passed away) My biological mother has alway's been more of a friend than anything else. We talk on the phone several times a week but I have not seen her for about 3 years. Every time I mentioned coming to visit her she alway's comes up with an excuse.

Now my hubby's family is the complete opposite. There are only my hubby and his sister but his sister and her hubby have 5 girls ages 21-9year old twins. My hubby also have 12 aunt and uncles on his dads side and 6 on his mom's side, probably have of them are close in age to my hubby so they are really close.

It is wonderful to have the family to fall back on. Everyone seems to know everyone else business and sometimes that is not so great, but we take the bad with the good.

I think it is wonderful that you are trying to help you nephew. I think it is sad that he did things to hurt his family. My thoughts are with you. Hugs!

Lucy Monroe said...

JudyF...Oh, sweetheart, my thoughtst and prayers are with you. That is SO hard. I wish I was there to feed you sweet tea and homemade cookies. Okay, so one of my love languages is food. :) Seriously, if you want to talk or vent, just email me privately and I'll give you a call. You are such a special person and I don't want to see you drown under this family wave.

Amy...I love to hear of people who don't have a close family but get to marry into one and then have one by proxy! I so hear you on everyone knowing everyone's business - even sometimes before they know themselves, yes? LOL

Hugs and blessings to all!

Cryna said...

I have just a small family core, and I agree with you that family is a great thing to have. When it comes to my late husband's family we were pushed away a long time ago and those bridges have never been forged or repaired. It basically is their loss - but after so much tryng you give up.

Thank you for your post and I have to agree that we are blessed to have an online family as well as blood family.

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks,'s at this level - that of the heart that we can make real connections, don't you think?

Cryna said...

You are so right, Lucy........


Maureen said...

My family is the most important thing to me too but it is sometimes hard to accept the behavior of family members, especially when you know they know better.

Lucy Monroe said...

Maureen - that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? With family, we know how they've been raised to behave in regard to family and when they decide to act like nitwits instead, it's tough. LOL