Family Matters

No family is perfect… we argue, we fight.

We even stop talking to each other at times.

But in the end, family is family…

The love will always be there.

We learn to love each other most when we deserve it least,

And then we mourn the ones we must love

And miss from a distance.

“They’re either heading home or on vacation. I can’t tell which.” I said to my friend as I watched the V of geese flying by our property. Normally in the fall they are flying south, but today they seemed to be going east. Maybe they know a short-cut to their destination, or maybe they simply trust the one out front leading the flock.

The holidays are coming and with that the good, the bad, and the ‘now what’ family get-togethers are nearly upon us. The good is that family is the glue that holds our lives together. It’s the only place where a group of people are expected to wade through, love you, stand beside you no matter the situation that exists. The bad is, you do not get to pick the personalities that form the group! And the ‘now what’ is the drama that is brought into a group with such a wide variety of temperaments.

*The Hurricane. Every family has one! The moment they enter the front door, they bring an energy that disrupts the peaceful gathering and makes the animals hide. These people may not bring tranquility to a family event, but they are the people who can manage the energy to see through a huge crisis. Don’t misjudge their intent, it’s usually intensely loving and protective when they aren’t focused on themselves. And sometimes their worst problem is their lack of perspective and affect they have on the group. But come at their family, and they’ll willingly die to protect them.

The Complainer:  Nothing is good enough. They’d have done things differently. Maybe in the future, let them. Give them a huge portion of the preparations for the party and let them go at it. You might be surprised at their talent.

*The Criticizer: instead of hearing the criticism, count how many you hear from them. It will move the focus to numbering them over feeling the sting.

*The Interrogator. Instead of feeling defensive over questions that might feel digging, turn the conversation back with a question:

  • I’m curious, why would you ask me that?
  • I’m still processing that, what would you do if you were to counsel someone in such a delicate situation?
  • I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I have a different view on that, can you pass the potatoes please?
  • Next question please. (and smile)

*The Straggler. There’s one in every family. They can’t get to dinner on time and leave others waiting on them. They have no idea how difficult it is to put a meal on the table to have hot things hot and cold items cold.

  • Stop waiting on them. Assume they’re late for a good reason, but start eating on time and let them catch up.
  • Try to see into their world, it might just be magical!

The bottom line is I love each one of our quirky family members. The chatty, the politically correct and the not so. I love that they love me, flaws and all.

I love that at this time of the year, if I can’t be in the garden, the dining room table is stretched to its maximum and will stay that way until January.

And as I look back up in the sky, I can see that victory v flight pattern has stragglers, talkers, independent thinkers that fly to the side, and rotating leaders facing the headwinds. But what they have in common is what we all share—they are united together as family.

For more stories like these look in Holi-dazes: Lessons From the Garden