Every Friday we will share some ideas on how to improve your family values or life. The hope is that as you end a busy week and enter the weekend with your family that you can reflect on these ideas and connect as a family through them. If you ever come across something you think would be great to share, please share with us on our Contact Us page.
Do you have family that lives close by or are you separated from you family by miles and miles of land or water? Different families either love having family close or wished there was a little more distance between them and their relatives. For our family the closest family we have is my brother-in-law and some cousin-in-laws that live about 3 hours away. We see them on major holidays only and are not that close to them. As I’ve grown up I’ve been drawn to those families that have strong bonds to their parents and siblings and have always wanted that for my family. In college I went on many trips with my friends and their families and loved seeing the sibling, grandparent and parent dynamics played out and swore I wanted that in the future.
Now that I have children we are starting to pave the way for those bonds to happen but not in the regular “family reunion” kind of way. Because our families are small and distant, my husband and I have started to create our ‘family’ through friends. At first it was asking special friends to be background checked and approved to be babysitters when we became foster parents. Then it was relying on them to give us advice on parenting and baby products as we adopted our son the day he was born with nothing at all. Some of these friends have come and gone and some have stayed. Some don’t even have children of their own yet, and may never, but all of these friends are special to us and our children’s lives.
Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu said “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” In our case, this is true and false. Our ‘Dallas family’ is one that we did choose through our friends but truly God’s gift to us in so many ways. Yes we have chosen them, but we have surrounding ourselves with people whom we know would drop anything to help us out if we called them and vice versa. We can pour our hearts out to them and they will still love us. We entrust in our friends to talk to our children like their own and can’t wait until when our kids look forward to doing things with our ‘family’ like going over to Uncle Tim & Martin’s house to swim or spending holidays together.
Every year we travel with the same family to south Texas for a ‘family vacation’. This trip originated because our friend, Ellen, travelled the same trip every year growing up and she knew that she wanted to continue the tradition when she had a family. The summer our boys both turned one we took our first trip and the momentum was set, we would forever travel in July with this family of ours and enjoy some R&R and bonding. What made it even more special is that Ellen’s parents could not pass up the opportunity to relive those family vacations themselves and they came along, which was perfect because my husband’s mother lives close to the area and she was able to visit us as well. So here we had this little extended cluster of a family, something I had always dreamed of. The second year we missed because our son was sick and we still kick ourselves for not going. The third year we added another family and some sweet baby girls to the mix. Every year has been special and different in some way….and isn’t that what these kind of trips are about? This is really what family is also about, enjoying time together through all of life’s changes and challenges.
I would love to know if you have family that you travel with? Do you have ‘family’ that you have chosen to surround yourself with? What are some fun family things you hope to do with your children that you did as a child with your family?