The Children Came Home!

March 14, 2006

The children came home this past weekend. It seems a bit of misnomer when I first write that. The children range from 21 to 36 and just coming home takes a herculean effort on their part. They literally come from the mountain west to the coastal plains of the southeast. So coming home means a lot to us. We had a great weekend for all of us. One was not home due to previous commitments, but was fortunate and spend a couple of days with her aunt! Some were home for less than 48 hours and two are still with us. How come my family is functional (by my definition) when so many others aren’t. By the way, I know lots of functional families.

I know too many families that don’t have time for each other. Everyone is focused on work with family a poor second. Yet my family – from my grandparents to my grandchildren – are focused. I remember as a child that we would drive any distance to be home for Christmas. Many times when we live far away we would leave at 8 pm and drive through the night – just to be there for Christmas day. We still gather when we can, although not as often. Our lives have changed, but not our love. In our own family our children will gather “at the drop of a hat” as my father says. We don’t need many excuses. As one daughter expressed in her email last night “I have such a fun time.
Krissie & David's Reception - 38
I can’t wait for another get together – can we have a ton of cake again?” That seems to be the tenor of this family, we have fun together. It may be just talking, reminiscing, or planning for the next big get-together. We aren’t perfect, but over Thanksgiving we had 10 children from 4 families all in the same house!
So what brings us all together to enjoy ourselves so much? Is it because we all like each other, or we all love each other, or there is a sense of acceptance and love. I think it is all of that and more. I have watched the sons and daughters grow and become best friends with themselves and with their Mom and I can tell you mom would rather spend time with her daughters than anyone else, except maybe me. I think that what pulls a family together is a common love, tolerance, and appreciation for each other. Those are surface words and don’t convey the depth of feeling that is present when a family comes together. Gone are the days of rancor between teenagers (but maybe not all of the differences), replaced by the growth that has occurred in each family member. It is what we like to call building an eternal family. I firmly believe in eternal families and that the work we do in this lifetime is what sustains us hereafter as a family.

I hear through academia, the news, and from observation that families are not the same as they once were. That may be more true than false, but families remain the core source of learning, social development and acceptance, values, attitudes (here we can debate), and love. It is our responsibility as parents to help our families become eternal, to become a place of refuge, to share our love one with another. In these types of settings family members can grow and be nourished. I look forward to future generations where family remains important.