What Makes A Family?
I've been thinking a lot about what really makes a family. Is it really so tied to DNA that no matter what you try to do to become a cohesive unit, you will fail? Or are we already a family and too busy looking at the greener grass to notice?I remember when we first endeavored to create a blended family. The challenges of bringing two older children into a life that included three other younger ones was not easy on them or us. Kids are highly adaptable, more than adults and definitely more than we give them credit for.
Then the years pass, they grow up and the game changes, Things that were once so easily done become challenges. You begin to wonder why you even tried in the first place. You wonder if you're really getting anywhere at all. You come believe that the grass is greener and that everyone else has it easier because of the simple fact that the kids are all theirs. You would be wrong. I was wrong.
I've been looking through pictures lately. The ones from my childhood that I still have. The ones in my mind that I don't have but I can still see in my memory because I've looked at them so many times. What the albums don't show is all the life that went on between each happy still shot. It doesn't show the loneliness, the feeling that I never quite fit into the family I was biologically related to. For as much as it wasn't easy being a kid, it's equally hard being an adult. Second guessing everything.
Then I looked at the pictures again. The newer ones of my own family and I realized that I do have a family however imperfect. Nothing is perfect, but ours is perfectly normal. Regardless of biology, every parent has the kid they love but whose behavior makes you want to put your head through a wall. The kid who doesn't quite seem to fit, the kid who seems perfect. Every parent has the child that for some reason they just love a little bit more than the rest. Even though they never admit to it. All kids fight and argue. All kids pick the weakest link and team up against them. It's not biology, it's psychology.
There is no greener grass. Mine is no greener than yours or vice versa. There are nights when we all sit together and watch a movie, it's quiet and I think this is nice, this is a family. There are hours that go by where everyone gets along and we are all pulled together doing for one another and I think, "wow this is nice". Then it ends and they go back to being at each other's throats.
Those moments, I've discovered, are like the pictures I so often look at. Still images of perfection that disappear as soon as the flash burns out. Life is all the stuff in between. It gets your hands dirty and makes you tired. It's also easily forgotten about when time erases all but what can be recalled from the photographs that remain behind. The perfection, never achieved but so easily recalled.