On some level, whether we want it or not, as long as we draw breath, we have life, love and family to deal with. We get to chose to embrace, pursue, accept, reject or avoid the many facets of life, love and family to suit our values, priorities, desires and goals.
For me, having love for my children, my husband, my parents, my in-laws, my siblings and their families is a given. It just IS, based on the fact that we ARE family. It has never been optional for me to decide to just not love any of them. Frustrating, disconnected, unlovable, too busy...? ABSOLUTELY. Still committed to loving them? ABSOLUTELY.
Love for each family member is unique but I can confidently say there is love in my heart for each person that I call family. I want to honor that love by staying connected and giving adequate attention to each family member. It's impossible!
I wish I could prioritize the needs for every family member's attention and back it with the actions to deliver love to their life every day. It's impossible!
I am working to give myself grace for what is possible on any given day.
My best intentions and actions for loving family right now...
Pray for my family with thanksgiving and requests for their lives. This keeps me mindful of their lives and my love for them and the work God is doing in their lives. Realistically, it does not happen daily for each of them but it's part of my best intentions.
In this season of life, my kids are my number one priority. The kids at home are first priority. The young adult children are next. Some days, that's it.. nothing left for anyone else. What does priority attention look like? Loving attention depends on the day and the child but it starts with intentionally checking in and assessing where they are at.
Extended family... call, text e-mail to let them know I am thinking of them or to keep them informed as I am prompted and time allows. No guilt, just love, as I am able. Disappointment in my heart that it can't be more... always. I believe they all know they are valued in our lives... GRACE.
Birthdays are a big deal in my heart. If nothing else, it is an excuse to connect and maybe even gift something special to each family member. It's their day and I use birthdays as the reminder to focus on the special person that they are. Special sentiments, old pictures, FB messages, text, cards, gifts, phone calls... any or all of it. I want my kids to know honoring family members too and birthdays are a great reminder. Calling with our horrible singing to each other is one way they participate. I treasure every call made and received. I have been late and missed a few... GRACE.
Holidays are when we definitely get together with extended family. Not optional. It gets harder, the bigger the family gets but it's our chance at least once a year to exist and celebrate while present in the same physical space. Catching up, laughing, playing games, eating, arguing, taking pictures, watching the kids grow, etc. I love all of it! Sure, being out of routine, lots of emotions and interactions, managing expectations, travelling can be exhausting. It can be hard on me, as mom, to minimize disruptions to the intended joyful reunions. Still, it's not optional. I am always thankful we all put in the effort and get together.
The love returned from each family member in words and actions, fills me and gives me a sense of security in my existence and connection. I have to remind myself sometimes to keep expectations to a minimum and be grateful for what each person gives in their own ways. Nobody's family is perfect. I am thankful to have so many unique people to call family and to see it grow through births and marriages.
Is loving family easy? NOPE
Are they worthy of our love? YEP
Should we count ourselves blessed to have family to love? ABSOLUTELY
REFLCET => REGROUP => RECOMMIT => REAP => REJOICE