I’m the kind of person who wishes all family members would get along.
I’m also the kind of person who is disappointed. A lot.
Because in my world, despite my wants, all sorts of fractured family dynamics exist. Some close to the heart, others further out in my tree’s concentric circles.
I’m learning to accept it…as if I have a choice in the matter. I can’t control what others believe, how they behave, or whether they want a relationship. Conversely, I am not so willing to accept someone carte blanche anymore, especially if I find them offensive, abusive or uncaring.
Lately, I’ve been thinking family is actually a broader term than the technical definition I’ve always attributed to it. Family can be someone important to you or your family unit whether they are related or not. Sometimes those non-relations become the best kind of family. The kind you wish your actual family was like.
What does that look like for me?
- The kind that always has my back.
- The kind who I genuinely hope will come for Thanksgiving dinner.
- The kind who wants to spend time doing stuff with me and my people.
- The kind who actually asks about my husband and kids—and gives a damn about the answer (even better if they make an effort to know or mentor my kids…or, heh heh, my husband!).
- The kind who can listen to my joys and woes, and give me a sympathetic ear or a kick in the right direction, respectively.
- The kind who texts, calls and (gasp!) actually makes time to see me in person.
So here’s what I say. If your family dynamics suck, build a new one. Make your own tribe. Take a nod from the Serenity Prayer and accept the things you cannot change but also change the things you can. While you’re at it, nurture the family relationships that are thriving, so they’ll continue to grow. And if you want to try and fix the fractured relations, have at it. Just know the world isn’t going to end if things aren’t perfect. And if sucking it up to foster family peace is worth the price of admission, there ain't nothing wrong with that, either.
Just remember, Thanksgiving is coming. #pleasepassthecranberrysauce