I have got a fantastic family! I just have to start right off the bat and say that. We all love each other deeply and intensely! This sort of intensity often leads to squabbles, fights, brawls, whatever you want to call it. We know how to fight. We also know how to make up. We know how to forgive each other.
Years ago when Mark and I went through our respective divorces and got together on a permanent basis it caused a lot of drama. It took a while, but my family eventually came to really love Mark and have completely accepted him into the family.
One of my brothers went through a divorce a while ago and has chosen a partner that the family did NOT approve of. I have been so worried for this family reunion because I know the kind of judgment and stress went along with Mark and I getting together. I was concerned for my brother and his new family and the way they may or may not be welcomed at the reunion. A good portion of my family is very black & white in their opinions and don’t leave a whole lot of room for grey. Well, for anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time you know that I see the world as completely grey. A choice that someone makes that is different from what I would choose is alright because I feel that you have to live your life as you choose to see fit, and the puzzle pieces just need to fall where they may.
My biggest concern for this reunion was my parents. Even though I have a sister who has more vocally disapproved, I was not worried about her. I was worried how my parents would behave. They said some very hurtful things to me when I was going through my trials, so I had major apprehension about my brother and his new family being in the same campground with my parents.
Towards the end of the week I was sitting in Mom’s cabin and we were looking through pictures that I had taken. We came across one of my brother and his beautiful family. The first thing out of Mom’s mouth was, “They are SO LUCKY to have him in their lives. He is the first decent male role model that they’ve had.” After picking my jaw up off the floor I had to wipe tears from my eyes. It was a response I was not expecting. I was so grateful that she could see that just because this wasn’t her choice, does not mean that good could not come out of it.
Then, THEN (and this was a shocker to me) we were all sitting in the large cabin on the last night of camp and there were a thousand people milling about (OK, slight exaggeration…34 people). Some were grilling, some were watching TV, some were playing games, and a LOT were watching a slide show of pictures from the week. My brother’s SO was kneeling on the floor trying to get a good view of the pictures. Dad was standing right behind her and put his hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle little squeeze and pat. To most, it would seem to be a very small gesture, but to me it was enormous. Again with the tears. To see my hugely judgmental, opinionated, sometimes harsh family, it was so good to see this family accepted into our large clan.
That is what family is about. That is how families should behave. It’s a love for each other that runs deeply and solidly. I’m very blessed to be part of such a family!