When the word family is mentioned, what is your initial response? Is it joy? Hope? Heartache? Pride? Security? Distress? Dread? Unity? Drama? Frustration? Encouragement? Embarrassment? Solidarity? Sorrow?
Perhaps your reaction is a combination of all or many of these things. Maybe it will change tomorrow or next week or even later this very day. Chances are, if you are a part of a living, breathing, growing family, you have experienced them all at one point or another.
Families are formed in many ways. Marriage, adoption, birth, fostering, are all examples of how families are formed. Each family is unique because each family is made up of unique people. Uniquely gifted. Uniquely difficult. Uniquely opinionated. Uniquely experienced. Uniquely strong. Uniquely weak. Uniquely wonderful.
And then, just about the time you think you’ve got a handle on who likes what and who is dependable when and how the dynamics are going to be, Wham!, things change because people change and yes, families change.
Sometimes the change is beautiful and good. Sometimes the change is scary and sad. More often than not, the change is simply different and different can be disconcerting.
Why all the changes? Why can’t we just settle in and find our place in this big world and stay put? Why can’t we always rely on our families to be safe and solid? Why can’t we ever arrive and stop rearranging?
Here is what I think. I believe that families are living, breathing and growing. I believe that because of this sometimes they can experience growing pains. I believe that families can become unsettled and uncomfortable. But, they don’t have to stay that way.
You see, families are worth fighting for, holding together and working on. Families aren’t simply about biology, they are about choices, commitments, relationships and yes, even change.
We can choose to celebrate change and recognize that consistent change proves that our family is living, breathing and growing. And even though we may sometimes resist it, we wouldn’t have it any other way.