Today is the day my family leaves. We spent a week in the mountains, getting dry noses and beautiful images pressed into our minds. We did rope courses, saw bears and bunnies, took bumpy jeep rides, ate ice cream, played cards, and froze at the top of mountains. We also learned that we are all getting older. Our personalities have become more defined and we all have our own (sometimes very specific) desires, needs, and expectations. With eight people, eight family members, pretenses are gone as are those social rules that normally apply to friends and strangers. Often this is a good thing. There’s comfort there and joy in feeling like you’re a part of this collective identity that is there no matter what. But sometimes, we feel like our personal identity is overshadowed or not supported in this mesh of seven other people. Sometimes, we feel like we have to fight for our boundaries and desires and everyone else needs to be on board with it.
Everyone seems to love using oceans as analogies lately so I’m going to role with it. Some people in my family are natural wave makers, and there are good waves and bad waves. They carry us in laughter and joy, good moods and fun. Some people are peacemakers, always wanting to make sure the waves are pushing us in the right direction. If they’re not, we want to abandon the whole peacemaking thing and hold our breath beneath while the waves pass over (This is usually what I want to do). But I think we all have a bit of this in each of us, some traits are just a bit stronger. And that’s great! We need both to be strong. Especially when the waves are pushing us to make us feel better then the person beside us, when we feel like we need to be right at the expense of the other, and when we feel our desires or expectations are more important than the other person’s feelings. These bad waves, if not stop can easily pile up into something destructive. And that’s when we all need to tap into our peacemaker side, step back and look to our right and left. This is our family standing beside us and it is our responsibility to each person to make sure our waves aren’t hitting them too hard (or better yet, at all).
Today is my Dad and Step-mom’s eight-year anniversary. We’ve been a blended bunch of strong personalities for eight years. We’ve had some amazing experiences together, full of joy and coming together. I am so grateful to be a part of this crazy bunch. Though I never would have imagined being a part of two families (yet still one in it’s own way), I love both parts. My prayer for both sides is that the best is yet to come. I prayer even though we’re getting old and making our own lives, we will continue to grow closer and more supportive. That we would consider our brothers, sisters, and parents more important than ourselves and be willing to serve them without conditions. To my family, both immediate and extended, I’m so grateful for you and love you so much!
So today I start my journey of being across the country from them. It will certainly have its challenges and I will undoubtedly miss them (in a week or two 😉 ). But I know we will always get together again, and no matter what we will always be family.