Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Kinds of Families

My aunt, a long-time and very skilled family therapist, says there are three kinds of families:
  • Families who gather around food
  • Families who gather around alcohol
  • Families who gather around activities
Makes sense, right? We all know families whose gatherings are all about activities--they get together to ski or mountain bike or hike. Their vacations are centered around being active. Then, there are families who get together to drink. Their gatherings have copious amounts of alcohol. Then, there are families whose #1 question when planning to get together is: what will we eat? What should I bring?

My extended family (both sides) definitely falls into the food category. There's always a big meal. Dinner is often planned during (or just after) breakfast. We're a food family. Sure, there may also be alcohol or activities, but food is the centerpiece of our gatherings.

I've been around alcohol or activity families before and, let me tell you, it has been a disconcerting experience. I'll never forget a time I was vising a friend during college and her family planned a beach picnic. Except we got there and there was hardly any food! The activity of driving onto the beach, visiting the beach, walking along the beach, was clearly the focus (I later realized!), NOT the food part of a picnic. In fact, if I recall correctly, I don't even think there were enough sandwiches for everyone to have their own!

I literally could not wrap my head around what happened that day!

I started giving all this a lot of thought recently when my brother and his new girlfriend were vising for (I would later learn!) my surprise party weekend. On Friday night we were talking about her meeting my parents for the first time the next day. She said something along the lines of, "I feel comfortable around any family that eats."

I couldn't agree more! (And she'll do just fine with ours!)

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home Alone

For the first time in more than five years (since Lucas was born!) I was recently home alone in our house for more than a few hours (38 to be exact!).

It was heavenly.

Kind of.

More times than I can count, I've taken the boys to my parents house for an overnight, weekend or several days, because Abel had to work or to let him get some major home repair project done without interruption. And while I know he was always hard at work during these times (repairing the dining room ceiling, insulating the attic, renovating our basement, building a stone retaining wall) I also know that he would crack open a beer and watch a movie at night, sleep in or just kick back for at least a few hours during the time he was home alone.

I was always so jealous!

Recently my parents wanted/needed him to do a small home improvement project for them, and due to some outside commitments (including the deadline for my first freelance editing/writing project--woohoo!) I couldn't take the time to go. So, he took the boys with him overnight.

Ahhhhhhh.....I was practically giddy as they pulled away!

In some ways it was wonderful. You wouldn't believe how neat and picked up I was able to keep the house! In other ways it was just strange. I kept hearing Nathaniel stir from his nap or wondering when he'd wake up.

So while I'd definitely take the chance to be home alone again, I no longer think it would be the best thing in the world. Even though those two boys create a lot of chaos in our home, it feels awfully lonely without them!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!