In our family, every person counts. We are a big, rambunctious crowd, and while from the outside it may seem that anyone could get lost in us, we always feel the absence of any one member.
In our family, we tease each other mercilessly, sometimes bordering on meanness, but we love each other fiercely and will defend each other to outsiders with everything we have. Sincere efforts are appreciated, too, and applauded. We love doing things for and with each other.
In our family, we value fun and silliness. Greatly. We laugh loudly and a lot. And at everything. Over and over and over again. We play games chance we get.
In our family, kids are precious. And the adults are also kids.
In our family we weep with each other. And although we no longer attend church together, we all feel and benefit from each other’s prayers.
We all crave deeper and continuing connection with each other. We are gently competitive, but we mostly help each other. Everyone contributes. Even the Whos in Whoville have nothing on our family’s sense of teamwork. You know what we should do? Go on Family Feud or maybe The Greatest Race or something.
For us, there is no such thing as a black sheep, because we all take turns being the odd man out, ha. At some time, each of us has wandered from the fold, and we always come back. This gives us hope for our babes who are hurting. We have learned that each of us has an ongoing need for grace and mercy. We all have said and done things to hurt each other, we all have been forgiven, we all want everybody else to stay close immediately and from now on, ok? There are no outsiders in our family. We are all of us, together, even when we are far flung. Every person is worth waiting for.
(Come home, Joc. We miss you. We need you. We are here for anything you need.)
We love each other. We love each other’s babies and puppies. We feel at home in each other’s homes. It feels like childhood after a few hours or especially a few days together in a shared, confined space.
In our family, we eat really well. We are, I like to think, health conscious hedonists. Giving us home cooked food with whole milk and eating dinner at the table for 90% of our meals, Mom and Dad raised lots of very enthusiastic cooks! This Thanksgiving, two of their adult grandchildren some cooking for the feast, and we were so proud.
We care about beauty and lushness, but we are not too fancy.
We value lots of traditions, if they serve our communal joy, and we won’t be shamed out of it. We don’t mind test driving new traditions either! The Saran Wrap game is only a few years old for us, but it’s not going anywhere. We also love to share memories and figure out which details we retain differently. (If you think we didn’t have a pet ferret, though, you’re wrong.)
In our family we work hard and expect accountability. For example, when a projects falls flat, Dad might say, “What did you think would happen when you did that?” And this question doesn’t sting; it only points us back to the process.
We nap hard. We dance, draw, create, play music, imagine, climb trees, study, clean, and work. Hard. Really hard. All of it.
Our family takes lots and lots of photos! Of everything. We do this because we are amazed by how quickly time passes. We want some documentation of all this life happening. But we also hate for our own photos to be posted to Face book without permission. Ask Genny about having cheeks full of banana at the 5K.
For our family, the two people who started everything as bright eyed, glossy faced teenagers are now our matriarch and patriarch, and for all of our juvenile complaining and petulance in the past, now… none of us know what we would do without them.
In our family we celebrate each other’s successes. We ask a lot about the future, and we love talking to each other about our plans, whatever they may be, big or small. We encourage each other. We have learned to not dwell too long in the past, except to celebrate it and hopefully laugh. We have learned that every single one of us needs some forward momentum. Some encouragement and a push here and there. Also some grace and compassion, all of which we happily provide for each other.
In our family, it’s a lot. It’s a lot of a lot, with no signs of it ever not being a lot. But we love it. Our two sweet members who married into all of this A-Lot-Ness probably feel it the most. BW and Halee are often a bit wide-eyed by the end of a good reunion, but we trust that they too value the whirling dervish that is our family.
We all need a nap now. And a bit of quiet, maybe some Febreeze for the house and a few raw veggies for our bellies. But truly we just love the happy chaos so much. We love the intense texture and noise and wild flavor of us all together, because as messy as it is, as overwhelming as it can be, as much as the togetherness may stretch each other’s boundaries, this is where each of us originated. This is the very real and powerful nucleus of Love and Intention and Effort from which all five of us sprouted and grew. How wonderful that we all have grown in such different directions and still “come home” to celebrate so often.
Come home. Touch base. Home base.
(unless you are playing Wago)