Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united. Unknown

Are we unhappy about the things that don’t work out in our lives or celebrating what is working? Isn’t there always something, big or small that is not working out how we want it to?

Tomorrow we leave for a road trip starting in Vancouver, British Columbia, and ending in Calgary, Alberta. There will be five of us and a fourteen-month-old baby. Will there be hiccups along the way, undoubtedly? Will tempers be frayed at times, certainly? We are fitting a lot into a short time, for sure, but in order to see everyone and everything we want to see, it has to be this way.

We are so fortunate to be able to make this trip and for our grandson to meet his great-grandmother who turns ninety-nine this November. He won’t remember this trip or his great-grandmother but there will be pictures and stories.

This trip came together because as my daughter and I planned to take her son to see mom everyone said we should come too, and here we are the day before we leave.

Today we’ll tie up some loose ends, give our dog a bath before she goes to where she’ll be staying, and water the plants as well as pop last-minute things into our luggage. We haven’t been on a family holiday since our daughter got married almost five years ago.

My kids saw their grandma the fall before the wedding and we are so fortunate mom is still with us. One of the challenges, when we move far from home, is getting back to see family. How fortunate we are to have a family to visit. There is a tie to our family that time and distance don’t erase. When we get together, no matter how long it is since we’ve seen each other there is a sense of belonging. We are part of it, we belong.

We might not have an easy time growing up, sometimes we don’t see things the way our parents do, and our choices don’t align with theirs, but I think most families find a way to accept each other warts and all. No one gets a perfect family where everyone does what they should, always make the best choices, or has the best reaction to someone else’s choices. We sometimes want things for someone that they don’t want for themselves, and we have to accept we can’t control others.

Family, we may not have it all together, but together we have it all. Unknown

“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us”, is something Mom has said all my life, and my nephew says, “We love them cause their kin.” That sums up family, made up of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and at various times we might find ourselves in any of those categories. One of the problems we find in families is when they want to pretend there is no bad, or ugly in the family. We don’t all act perfectly all the time, we don’t always treat everyone fairly, think kind thoughts or expect the best of someone else. We have to be okay with our ugly side because it’s part of being human.

If we can accept ourselves warts and all, then maybe we can accept others as well. We have to be careful we don’t fracture families by making it seem that if families aren’t overjoyed with the decisions their children are making they can’t be told the truth about what is going on. When we create secrets in the family even if we think we are doing it for a good reason, it will likely have a bad outcome. When someone realizes you didn’t trust them enough to tell them the truth about yourself, how will they feel, and how will this strengthen the family? If we as a society encourage children and teenagers to keep secrets from their parents are we really doing a good thing even if what we are trying to do is support the children in their decisions?

Parents want the best for their children, and we as a society must trust this is so, because who do children have to turn to if they can’t turn to their parents and family? We have to be careful that by expecting perfection in families we don’t fracture them more and do more damage because perfection is the enemy of the good. Good intentions, have caused a lot of problems, and there are often unintended consequences no one wants to be responsible for, but what if our meddling is responsible?

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. Gail Lumet Buckley

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony. Friedrich Nietzsche

We start with our family, we may stray as life goes on but we all end up with our family – appreciate them. Catherine Pulsifer

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