Now that I've come out from under the rock that was sheltering me, while I was immersed in our family's book-of-memories, I am talking with friends again. At every turn, I am hearing of the lack of harmony within families. I listen to what I am being told and my head is trying so very hard to understand. But my heart just doesn't get it.
I live in a bubble wrapped world.
My children and I like each other. We have relationships within our family that are unique to each of our personalities and how they intertwine with the other. We have had some rocky roads. We have also faced a few adversities as a family unit. I say with an infinite amount of gratitude, that 'what didn't kill us made us stronger'. Coming out the other side of a family crisis, as a unit and a feeling of 'we have each other's back' has made us stronger instead of weaker.
I can take that a step further and talk about my relationships with my mom and siblings. What we have is special and unique. There is family unity, despite the miles, despite the age differences, despite our differing family dynamics. We band together in times of trouble, we cheer each other on from afar when life is good, we are simply 'present and accounted for' in so very many ways. We live five independent lives, but we are connected by an invisible elastic band which stretches and shrinks dependent on what is going on in our lives.
Take another few giant steps and I have my mom's family and my dad's family.
I have stepped out of my quiet, insecure self and stepped into my family. Collecting memories is a most excellent way of getting to know someone. I can remember being in awe of finally feeling like I knew my mom's siblings. I am still in awe of knowing my dad's family. And the gift of all gifts are the cousins I am getting to know, thanks to this life of living-outside-of-myself.
I have extended my arms wide open and enveloped my entire family within my grasp. Some are at my fingertips (but with fingers, come a hand); others are at arm's length (but with arms, come a deeper hold); others are very close to my heart (the distance between two hearts is invisible at times) ...
There is something incredibly sacred about this family connection. I know it is precious. I understand that most people don't have this. I don't know how to spread this around ...
... except to suggest "Perpetuate the good".
In all of my memory collecting, family bonding and close relationships there is so very much focus on what is good and what works for us.
Life is like an echo. "Life will give you back everything you have given to it."