What does the perfect family look like?
Two weeks ago, we celebrated my younger daughter’s college graduation. So, as you can imagine, thousands of families descended on New Orleans over those four days. Some had single parents, some only grandparents, some were families of two, some (like ours) were families of 12+. My daughter told me that she commented to her friend that one day she hopes to have a family that looks like her friend’s. Ummm…what?
At first I thought, well that sucks. She thinks our family isn’t good enough, so she wants to emulate someone else’s. Then I thought, well, we’re divorced, now she has a half-sister, I sold her childhood home and now live in a new house with my boyfriend. Of course I understand that, to her, we may not be a “perfect” family.
Fifteen years after our divorce, her dad and I can be together for these big occasions, but other than that, we handle business. Over the four day graduation weekend, we had big group dinners with the 12 of us: my ex, his wife and his child; our three kids; my parents; my brother and his wife; me and my boyfriend. The last night that we celebrated together, we went around the room and toasted my daughter – praised her and recognized her accomplishments as a young woman, a college graduate and an all-around amazing person. It was then that her comment came to mind again, because instead of a perfect or non-perfect family, what I saw as I looked around the room was simply love for her.
So, we aren’t the “perfect” family, in that traditional sense of two parents, together under one roof, 2.5 kids and a dog in the burbs…but we are perfect for us. I shared my thoughts with her and she said, “you’re right, I am grateful to have so many people really care about me.” I encouraged her to look more at all she has, and less at what she might think she’s missing out on. It’s normal, she’s a kid who grew up with turmoil, but her family has always been there, whether it’s a phone call, a visit, whatever she needs. Family first.
The way our family looks has changed over the years, but the love and dedication to our children is clear. Her family shows up for her, flies in to celebrate her in these momentous times, and even when times are not so happy, we are still always here. T.H. how do you define the perfect family?
P.S. It’s hard to figure out where we fit in sometimes, as far as family, friends, life, work and all that goes with it. You are not alone. We’ve navigated it all and are now the experts of our own experiences. We’re here to help you find your way. Email us at Hello@exEXPERTS.com.