Sorry friends, I promised pictures and more substantive thought on Thursday...but yesterday just didn't allow much, er...any time at the computer. So I'll share a few pics from our recent family reunion today and then I think it would be interesting to discuss extended family relationships and what it takes to promote unity and closeness in our families - little & immediate and large & extended.
Beachy Fun - sea shells and surfing and sand boarding - hooray!was a pretty good place to kiss :) (Rob & Ashley, sorry I didn't post your pic...I don't think you would have wanted me to ;)
Wednesday morning we went to see what all the hype's about at VooDoo donuts. There were certainly a lot of flavors - tang, neopolitan, fruit loop-crusted, cap'n crunch covered, memphis mafia (a fritter as big as your head that was COVERED with chocolate and all manner of icing). My review: It was an experience and the donuts were good, but I wouldn't go back. They were more fantastic to look at than they were to eat.
Now, let's chat about families. I would describe my family as extremely close and quite harmonious. Sure, we have our little squabbles and we each deal with challenges and heartaches in our individual lives, but when we get together, we get along swimmingly and we have a lot of fun. A lot! Sometimes I wonder if we're just a fortunate bunch with a lot of lucky chemistry or if our closeness is a result of choices my parents made, a culture they created, deliberate efforts we've made as siblings to grow and stay close to each other. I think maybe it's a bit of both.
We make the effort (and the pilgrimage) to be together for special occasions and events. We call each other on the phone. We celebrate each others victories and mourn each others disappointments. We try to protect each other, build each other up and encourage and counsel each other. One thing I think is super important is to let each person progress and be who they are today without holding them to what/who they were in the past. I know there are things I have made a mindful effort to change about myself and it is so painful to be reminded of those things or have them brought up as fodder in a family setting. It's something we've had to talk about as a family - protecting each other and not digging up old dirt or sharing stories that are hurtful or embarrassing.
Those are just a few things that come to mind when I start dissecting our family dynamics.
What about you and your family?
Do you enjoy time with your extended family? Is it harmonious and enjoyable?
What things does your family do to promote unity and closeness? Or what have you observed in other families?
What could your family do differently to promote those things in greater measure?
What about adding in-laws? How do you make them feel accepted and included? As an in-law yourself, how do you feel with your spouse's family? What makes you feel at ease and welcome? Is it hard to get comfortable and fit in? Why?
Have a great weekend!