Posted in Relationships

What Does it Mean to “Be a Family?”

Part 1

This is the question I posed to my children tonight.  It was an interaction with my wife today that made me realize that in some ways, I’ve been negligent and haven’t done the greatest job at being a nurturing partner.

My wife was sick last week!  Remember, she’s the stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of our three children!  In her usual way, she said she’d be fine, she knew that I have a lot on my plate with my full-time job and pursuit of my degree in Business!  I said “That’s why I accrue sick leave…to take care of family; nonsense, I’m staying home!”  Last week was the week she had chosen to begin the kids school year (we homeschool year round to be able to accommodate for times when either she or the kids are ill, if a crisis arises in the family or we want to take a short family vacation.)  Anyway, I ended up taking two days off…one was definitely not enough!  She still wasn’t completely recovered, but feeling better than two days before.

She, like many stay-at-home moms, has a passion for our children and tries her best to ensure she’s providing the best education for them. Due to my past military career, she learned to “go-it-alone” for so long that she doesn’t often ask for help for anything, and she always puts the needs of everyone else ahead of her own.  Where I failed on the nurturing end is, she still wasn’t at the top of her game, and I didn’t leave any instructions for the children….several things I could have stated (like most men, I assume too much!)

I won’t reveal the things I could’ve/should’ve said because I want to wait until we have our family meeting and hear what the children have to say about my question….but the experience and a few other interactions with my wife recently has caused me to think about what being a family means.

My mind raced quite a bit this afternoon pondering this question–weaving together bits and pieces from books I’ve read about relationships, parenting, family, love, and loss.  So, I’ll just leave you with these questions and look forward to your responses.  Stay tuned!  Later this weekend I’ll share with you the answers my children shared and the conclusions I’ve come to that I plan to share with my family during our family meeting later this week.  Here are the questions I’ll answer in Part 2!

  • What does it mean “being family?”
  • How should people in a family behave toward one another?
  • What can/should you expect by being a member of a family?
  • In your own family, do you feel that you’re doing everything you can to help your family be at its best?
Posted in Writing

Life – A Mixed Bag

Donald Hall
Image via Wikipedia - Donald Hall

Good Evening All,

Lying here in bed…the glow of my laptop screen providing a sleepy ambience, the smell of Vicks rub for both me and my wife who occasionally pulls out a kleenex for her leaky, dripping nose!  Sigh, yes its that time of year again.  The kids got hit with the cold first, one at a time finally visiting us!  The tickle in the throat, the wheezy flitters in the nose, it all seems to accompany this time of year when the night temps drop into the 50’s and the daytime temps make you wish you didn’t have to go to work.

We’ve settled into a new rhythm, sort of…now that we’re back in the burbs. Life is more convenient than the 40 minute one-way commute I had daily to and from work.  The kids are closer to friends and my wife doesn’t feel so isolated.  I have made designs and schemes for the future of our yard and already begun work to frame the future.   Somehow, it doesn’t seem that we’ve only been here two months!  The first couple of weeks I had no problems getting out of bed early in the morning…plenty of time to putz around the house doing odd jobs, etc…but that has worn off.  I’m lucky to get up and go through the motions in time to arrive on time!

I almost can’t watch television or look at news much without getting depressed.  Doesn’t anybody report anything good anymore?  Isn’t there anybody doing anything commendable, worthwhile, rewarding, inspiring?  Why does journalism have to take the low road as the norm and the uplifting as the exception? I would love for just one day all news, radio, paper, etc to report nothing but useful, positive, good news….perhaps we could have one day a week where that was all that was reported? You’re right…that’s fantasy, but I can dream.

To kick off a bit of good news reporting myself, I have to share that my son has begun soccer practice and all three kids are rehearsing weekly for a local homeschool production of Broadway Dreams.  Many homeschooled kids auditioned and were selected to sing several solos, duets, and ensembles.  They will have four performances in November consisting of selections from musicals, movies, and television shows.  We’ve been making use of a bigger kitchen and cooking a lot of homemade meals and treats.  This time of year is perfect for culinary curiosity and exploration.  Right now, my family is my bright spot in these uncertain times.

They say that “its all about perspective!”  One personal coping technique I use to deal with a less than optimal reality is to read real life stories of people who’ve had far worse stories to tell than me.  The book I’m reading now to give me a different perspective is “The best Day the Worst Day” (Life with Jane Kenyon) by Donald Hall.  The story is about two authors who marry in spite of their huge age gap.  They are passionate about poetry and writing.  Jane gets Leukemia and the story is his detailed account of his daily routines, his thoughts, and observations.  I’m more than halfway through the book and read a bit each night before going to sleep.  His writing style is thorough and contemplative.  It will definitely drive me to read more of his works.

How do you cope with the daily grind and mullygrubs?