Families are complicated.
My friend, Linda Francis, soon-to-be author, who inspires me to keep going, sent me an email a couple of weeks ago. It was a funny email, describing a family vacation that had all the makings of the Waltons or the Cleavers sitting around the table, loving each other with kindness and laughter, board games and picture perfect meals. Norman Rockwell in the 21st century.
At least that’s what her rose-colored glasses envisioned.
But, we all know how clear rose-colored glasses really are, and her hopeful tales of the pristine families of John and Olivia Walton and Ward and June Cleaver resembled more of an Archie and Edith Bunker or Bundy family circus.
I know of NO families like the Waltons or the Cleavers or the Huxtables.
Families are complicated.
How in the world did we all turn out so differently? I can remember so many conversations with Mom that revolved around this subject. We were all raised in the same house, with the same parents, going to the same church and schools, trained under the same rules with the same work ethic and political leanings and spiritual formations. Yet, as we grew up, we became individuals who think and act and lean our own way, to our own fancy.
But, ya know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I remember a lot more episodes of All in the Family than I remember of The Waltons. Archie and Edith were much more interesting and entertaining, albeit dysfunctional.
- Family tension around which political party is best
- Being so embarrassed when your parent disciplines you in front of your friends
- Sleep ’til nooners and up-before-dawners
- The know-it-all that knows it all with the exception of not knowing when to shut up
- Conversations at the table that make you want to crawl UNDER the table to finish your meal
- Siblings who have no earthly idea how to raise their own kids
- Complainers and whiners and doomsdayers
- You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-with-all-that-super-fakeness smilers
- Passive aggressives and martyrs and controllers and manipulators all trying to co-exist and take charge in their own way
- Having to explain things over and over and over again
- Children who are the pickiest eaters and waste all the food
- The ones who have to share every last ailment and the details
- Table belchers and public nose-blowers and tooth-pickers and don’t-shield-the-sneezes-ers
- The ultra long pray-ers and the have-never-uttered-a-prayer-in-their-lifers
- Couples who are clearly not getting along and allow the rest of the family to experience the “fun”
- Texters and Facebookers at the table – these days can be classified as adults or children – who would rather stare at a screen than have an actual focused conversation
John Boy who?
Give me Archie and Edith any day – I am grateful for and love the family God gave to me. They are all I need.