I had the perfect childhood. Well, I guess I can only say it was perfect because I didn't know anything different. My whole family lived in the same city, all within 15 minutes of each other. We spent time together often, and got along as if we were both friends and family. The best of friends.
We had massive 4th of July pool parties, and dressy Christmas gatherings. We even had some wild rager graduation parties. What happened with the family stayed with the family...
It couldn't have been more perfect if I made it all up in my head, or watched it on a movie screen. Sure, we all had our occasional ups and downs, but at the end of the day, family was everything, and if someone needed something, we were all there at a moment's notice. No questions asked. Ever.
So it can only be natural to want that same "family" for my children. It's all that I knew, and all that I could've hoped for for my kiddo. I wanted her to feel that sense of security. Have the weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's (sometimes even weeks at the grandparents!). Go on adventures with all the cousins. Hell, we even lost a cousin in Home Depot one time while playing hide and go seek. (Not one of our finer moments, but still hilarious to look back on now) Exactly what I had, I wanted her to have.
How unrealistic and idealistic could I be?
I think I've finally figured out that it just might not be possible. Too many things can change. Circumstances change. People change. Jobs change. People move. It isn't some set rule that things work out the way you want them to, just because you want them to.
Family members don't always live within 15 minutes of each other. Family members don't always get together for weekly play dates or weekends away together. Traditions can't just forced because you think they should be.
Life changes. Sometimes it changes beyond recognition.
But, I'm starting to think that might be okay...
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Everything has a purpose. There is always some mystic meaning to be learned and understood.
I am finding a new sense of family for my child. She won't have the magical, too good to be true childhood that I had, and that's okay. She has something that looks and seems different, but maybe it's better?
We have so many people in our life. People that we are forever grateful for. And maybe that's the point of it all; appreciating what we have so much more because it's something different, and not what we had originally thought it would be.
Family isn't just given to you. It's what you make it. You create these relationships and maintain them, and work on them, and cherish them. We might wander off track every now and again, but we'll always make it back together again. There will be misunderstandings, and we won't always see eye to eye. It's going to be messy sometimes.
Life is messy,and family is messy. Just because something isn't what you hoped, doesn't mean that it's bad or less than.
My big take away this week is that life is what you make it. We control our own destiny. Starting right now, (yes, this very moment) I am making the most of everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. It is bringing me, and my family, to where we ultimately belong.
How is that for some Yoda sh*t?
I may or may not have watched Star Wars at a children's birthday party this afternoon... I couldn't resist...