I’m so excited about my guest blogger today. Buddy, has written his perspective of our family and I’m more than happy to share –
What does it mean to be in our Family?
I’ve reflected on the question of what it means to be a member of this family for quite a while and realize that my perception of family has evolved and changed with time.
I was probably around 7 when I started to have an abstract understanding of day-to-day family life and family ideals – religious beliefs, political views, socioeconomics, and what motivates my family as a whole.
Once I hit my teens, the abstract understanding started to evolve into something more concrete. I became, generally, more aware of our family dynamic.
But, it wasn’t until I was in my twenties and had purchased a house of my own that I felt I’d come full circle. I started to reflect on my past and look at our family dynamic of yester year from the outside perspective of my adult life
I never really took note of the small progressions in my own awareness around family, but the highest and lowest points along the way tend to stand out.
I’d like to focus on, what I’d consider the higher points for Dad, Mom, Princess and me – our values. They are the core components that make us, well, us.
My first real insight into understanding our family ideals was when Mom decided to put her career on hold to stay home with Princess and me. Obviously, at the time, I was unaware of what a huge sacrifice that was for both of my parents. However, I did grow to understand that spending time together was a top priority and my daily life was filled with amazing stability and structure. We got to go home from school for lunch and homemade dinners when Dad got home from work were the standard.
Now, even though we are separated geographically for much of the year, we all genuinely enjoy spending time together and look forward to it.
This past August long weekend we gathered at the family cabin, amidst all of the chaos that is caused by a house full of people. In addition to our immediate family, an array of extended family was present. Around the campfire on Saturday night, the crowd dwindled down until we were the only ones left. It brought on a calm feeling that is tough for me to describe. It’s not to say that I don’t enjoy my extended family. It was just a nice few minutes where life was on hold, where my family got a moment to ourselves to discuss what was going on in one another’s lives.
Time spent together like this helps each of us have a better understanding and perspective of one another. Best of all, it gives each member of this family the ability to provide a level of support that would be hard to duplicate by someone outside of it.
As a kid, I was quiet and had few friends. I was lucky that no activity was off limits and was encouraged to try any that interested me. In fact, video games were only allowed on weekends. My sister and I were expected to get out and do things, so we participated in sports or music classes most nights. I chose curling, bowling and the accordion as my favourites.
We have centred our lives on activities and supported each other’s endeavours, even when they differ from our own.
Each member of the family has interests that coincide with each other, but we also have endeavors that are unique to each of us, as individuals.
Princess has a love affair with swimming, and has ever since I can remember.
My mom’s primary focus is writing and journaling (the mastermind behind this blog post).
My dad has his curling and his love affair with the Calgary Stampeders.
And myself, I added baseball to bowling and curling while growing up. Now, I have an almost unhealthy relationship with the Florida Panthers hockey team. Bizarre, I know.
I guess it isn’t really about what the interest is, it is more about always having the freedom to enjoy what we do without any thought of impending judgment.
I am not talking about grand vacations in exotic places. What I am referring to is activities that are staples of daily life, the ones that enrich and provide fulfillment. For this family it’s as simple as going out for dinner on a regular basis and enjoying great food together.
Our most recent experience was a family outing on Father’s Day. Things lined up that we were all in the same city for about 24 hours and it just happened to work out. It was an evening filled with lots of laughs. I wish it happened more often.
It wasn’t until recently that I truly learned to appreciate how many positive people surround our family. It’s hard to overstate what having positive relationships throughout your life can provide. Whether it’s personal friends, friends of my parents, or friends of my sisters, we have managed to surround ourselves with hundreds of great people. My family knows that if something were to happen to any one of us, these people would be our safety net of support.
There are a multitude of examples that depict our outside support system. I will write briefly about a few people that have meant a lot to me over the years. This ties in with experience because, let’s face it, people and events work together.
- Going to the Shuswap Lake every summer because we had a standing invite (or at least I think we did) with close friends of my parents, who have now become close friends of mine;
- standing in my best friend’s garage, just before he moved away, talking about life until 4 a.m. on a Tuesday;
- going to Lacrosse games with two close friends, knowing their family has always had my back;
- and spending early mornings with my sister at the cabin, visiting with the neighbours who were early risers, before our parents awoke.
It might be cliché to say, but sometimes we lose sight of the things that are truly important in life. I don’t want to look back and think, “Where did all the time go?”
It’s not about how much money we have, how big our house is, or even how strangers view us.
Life is about spending time with people who enrich your life, gathering memorable experiences that provide you joy, and making sure your days are spent in fulfilling ways.
I know, my family relationships will continue to evolve and our bond will grow even stronger over time.
My favourite definition of family is this – A person or people related to one another that share a special loyalty or intimacy.
And, herein is my understanding of what it means to be in mine – the biggest influence on my life.
NOTE – Check Facebook for Klick Me Photography. A creative photographer with cool ideas for sport photos and reviving those old negatives. (this is not a paid endorsement)