Monday, April 5, 2010

We Are Family

I grew up in a big extended family. Lots of people around all the time. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and more cousins at every gathering, especially the holidays. When I was 13, my parents moved us to Oregon. About 2 years later my sister started starving herself, so my parents disappeared. I went from always being in a crowd to basically being alone all the time. Of course I dreamed of recreating that wonderful chaos of a big family for myself someday. I was sure that I would marry somebody fun, have at least 4 kids, and we'd be a big happy family, doing all kinds of fun things together. In my rush to fulfill this fantasy, I didn't pay very close attention to minor details, like make sure you pick a husband who wants what you want.

When the divorce happened, which really was a good thing since we didn't want the same things, I was sure that was the end of my dreams of a happy family. There would be no family vacations, no big Christmas dinners, and certainly no more children. Add to that crushing reality check all the other stresses of divorce and I was deep in depression for a few years. I've only recently really been finding my way out.

As the fog is clearing and I've had some space to look around, I've discovered a couple of things. And maybe the biggest surprise of all? I do have a family. Sure, it looks like there are not going to be any more babies. And it also looks like I'm doomed to be single for quite some time, but in the meanwhile I am having the big family that I always wanted. It just isn't exactly like I fantasized.

First of all, I've gotta say how cool my kids are. Now that I'm not exhausted from working and trying to keep things together as a single mom, I really have time to hang out with them and appreciate them. They're funny and smart and ridiculously well-behaved. Everywhere we go people tell me how awesome they are. And I see it too. I really like them. I know this should be "duh" but it hasn't always been for me.

Secondly, living with my mom and dad has provided that house full of energy. We have family nights with a ton of people all the time now. We invited friends over for Christmas dinner. We invited friends over to watch the Civil War game. Just last night my sister came by and all 6 of us watched "The Amazing Race" together. It was loud and boisterous. Go cowboys!

Third, I'm not afraid to do stuff with Griffin and Molly on my own any more. I used to avoid going anywhere with them for fear of how much work it would be. This trip to California proved those fears to be absurd. They are totally easy going and we had a fantastic time. It was no more work than driving down there alone. But having them along to do stuff with is way better.

Yes, I still have a reoccurring dream about that fantasy husband. He's always wearing white linen pants and cradling sleeping baby number 3 (4?) against his bare pecs. He looks strangely like a young Jason Patrick with that curly black hair... ;) But I'm not holding my breath waiting for him to arrive. I've got a great family right now. I just need to open my eyes and appreciate them.

1 comment:

  1. and you're not alone. we all appreciate them, and you. =] your kids rock, and so do you! thanks so much for coming to visit, it's always so great to see you!