Monday, September 03, 2007

Family Fries (you want gravy with that?)

Some have referred to them as the ties that bind. Family ties.

What happens when one sibling feels a stronger need to stay connected than another? Ultimately, one is disappointed, perhaps even rejected or alienated.

The family unit serves an important role in our society and in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It provides a support system and a sense of belonging. It gives perspective to history through deeply rooted traditions and heritage. The family instills values and morals. A stable home life with clearly defined behavioral boundaries has been shown scientifically to result in more well-balanced adults.

What value, then, does the immediate family have once you have all become adults and developed your own family tree? Do we "grow out of it?" Do we get to a place where we don't value or don't need the cousins interacting, the aunts and uncles helping spouses understand what makes the family tick, a wider circle of loving arms and potluck dinners? Are these not all valuable in instilling a sense of belonging and modeling a balanced life?

Today I've had my second earth-shattering realization about family. The penny finally dropped. The first was when I realized my husband was serious about only having one child. The day came when it sank in. No more children. I understand and respect his choice, but I grieved the loss of a dream.

The second realization is this: not all siblings value "family" in the same manner. Now, at first read, it seems simple and logical. However, when one wants anuual family reunions and frequent email contact, and one of your favorite siblings finally makes it clear that he feels the opposite...


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