This post is a follow-up to my somewhat somber December 5 post; “Our Friends, Family, Feelings, and Future”.
After reflecting on my pre-holiday frustrations, preparations, and in general, the chaos in the world today including the COVID pandemic’s social distancing and isolations, my key takeaway remains the importance of my family to me and how much I value the quality time we spend together.
Family isn’t always sunshine and roses: but for better or worse, family is where we develop our moral code of ethics that steers our decision-making processes throughout life. Our circle of parents, close relatives, friends, and neighbors, who helped raise us has had more power than anyone or anything else in our lives. They set the stage for our future relationships. The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” means an entire community of people provides for and interacts positively with children to enable them to experience a successful life and to grow in a safe and healthy environment. This always has been the truth and practice in our family.
Within our close family circle, we have found the strength to face unique challenges, rewards, and situations that helped us learn how to better navigate this crazy world. It has been our haven of trust and dependability because our close family circle has been the place we went to find the truth and faithful support necessary when life got hard. With family behind them, people can find the motivation and courage for success.
One of our grandsons’ young wives remarked this Christmas about how tremendous it was for her to see a close-knit family enjoying each other without any drama like she often experienced in her family’s gatherings.
We observed seven cousins from ages 2 to 10 reuniting with each other after six months of separation. They picked up just where they left off in the Spring at the family cookout where we celebrated Mother’s Day. Their laughter and giggles were infectious and caused their parents to reflect back on the events and chicanery of their childhood gatherings.
Our family continues to be our hub of tradition. We carry on traditions throughout the years by sharing stories from the past. This sharing creates connections with family members that aren’t around anymore. Many of us often openly express thoughts of those loved ones who once celebrated with us in days now gone by. Even in our daily routines, we are reminded of those who have passed but live on in our hearts and minds. You can read about one such pre-Christmas moment in my post “Bless Their Little(?) Hearts.”
Growing up in this type of family made me feel like I belonged to something bigger than myself. I now pride myself on being the matriarch of this strong community that’s successfully overcome hardships and even has gone on to enjoy occasional triumphs. But, this family circle of life is a constant reminder to us of ongoing complications and occasional victories that each one of us has to face in our journey on this earth. Therefore, we should not take more than we give to each other, to the world, or our planet. We should strive to remain united so that we honor as a whole instead of being a party to the world’s physical, moral, and sociological destruction. Let’s cherish, celebrate, and keep our family circles sacred as positive examples to those who may choose to follow.