We are in the United States for a week to join in a family celebration. Lots of family time and being in my childhood home has triggered this particular blog. As a mom, as a blogger, as someone who promotes calm and healthy lifestyles and habits/patterns, the importance in exposing such topics leads to a greater understanding of how our behavior as parents affects our children. This blog may be honest, may be a bit brutal. And it may push us out of our comfort zones to take a good look at our own patterns.
Yes. I am opening that can of worms.
Families of origin – the families we grow up with – play a huge role in shaping our character, our beliefs, our path in life. Sometimes, it is because of how we are educated, molded. Sometimes, it is in spite of what we are taught. There are the people and experiences we learn from, model ourselves after, and the people and experiences we learn what not to do from, how not to live our lives.
Either way, our families of origin, and the decisions they make, affect the adult we become one way or another.
And so, once we leave the nest, and spread our wings and forge our own way, coming back to the nest can be quite the interesting experience. Seeing what we were taught, what we taught ourselves, how we integrated the good experiences, and what we learned from the difficult ones. What laws of interaction did we establish for ourselves? What work ethic was engrained in us? What type of role models were we provided with for parenting? How did we see our family interacting with their family? What place did friends and extended family have in our lives?
Religious teachings, discipline, money mindset, self-beliefs. Respect for mankind, for our elders, for the youngsters in our lives, for our leaders. Judgment, acceptance, health habits, eating habits.
The list goes on and on.
So when we come home…when we come home, we may easily fall back into patterns of our childhood, of our families of origin. Or, we don’t fall back into those patterns, and we see the distinctions of the way they live, and the way we live. We may get triggered easily by things/people/situations that we have not had to develop strategies for as adults, and so we work with the strategies we had as children. Or flounder as we find a new way.
Either way, reuniting with our families after long periods of time can be quite the wonderful and…interesting experience.
The wonderful is the next generation playing on the same floor we played on as kids, with the same toys, and with so much love and family around making happy chatter and providing that patchwork of memories that we take with us in life. The wonderful is seeing all of our Aunts and Uncles and the family friends we grew up with. Being surrounded with the sameness of comfort they provided when we were kids. Wonderful is noticing the familial resemblances between cousins, and rearranging them according to looks as opposed to families. Coffee with a sister-in-law that feels more like a sister than not. The big sibling picture that now includes the siblings you acquired by marriage alongside the ones you were born with.
The interesting is noting that some things have stayed the same – fortunately or not, and that other things have changed – also fortunately…or not.
The interesting is seeing that what we cherished as children is still cherishable, while some of it is just trinkets and easily discardable.
The interesting is seeing how your siblings are as spouses and parents. At what patterns they took from childhood, and which ones they chose to discard.
How conflict is dealt with, or ignored. What family peace means to each individual member of the family, and to the unit as a whole.
In a book I read (and I am not at home to look it up so I will leave out credits and direct quotes here), it describes the family unit relationship as a dance. Each member has his/her own steps. The role they play, the patterns and behaviors that have come to be expected of them by the other members. If one person changes their moves, the rest of the members need to change their rhythm as well to adjust the dance to that change, or else it all looks like mishkabible (as my niece would say). Pattern disruption can be met with a lot of resistance, difficulty, strife. But, in time, if the changes made were in the direction of healthy patterns, things will resettle into a healthier pattern – with time.
When everyone leaves the nest, disruptions can play a less disruptive role. Changes can go more or less unnoted, or at least, be unphasing, until family reunites again.
When we reunite, the dance is unpracticed, there are more members, new patterns, entirely new steps. We fall into synchronization more easily with some, avoid standing too close to others. Bottom line, the dance will go on just for a short period of time, and then everyone returns to their own niches in life.
With all this being said, family is a blessing. Whether for the blessings they bestow/ed to us, the blessings they are for us, or the blessings of lessons we learn from experiences with them.
And being able to all gather together for family celebrations feels nothing short of magical. Like I said recently, it is all a matter of what we choose to focus on. The difficulties, challenges, or points where we just rub up against each other the wrong way, or the way we all click in some way back together because of all the shared history, blood, and memories we have together.
I am trying to focus on the miracles, the magic, the fun. The priceless-ness of time together. It is not always easy, it is not always calm, it is not always magical.
But overall, it is a blessing.
With Winter Solstice and Holiday blessings to all at this time of year,
Cousins Reunited :)
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