Family

Caricatures Faces Funny Family Image

We have recently experienced yet another family upheaval. And once again I am pondering the meaning of the term “family”. Is family supposed to be based solely on genetic connections? Does the multiple combinations of combined and shared DNA define what a family is? Does family also include those who, by choice and by the lawful joining of two people thus create an even bigger family? Or is a family simply those people in your life who, regardless of genetics or lawful joining, are those people who love, support, comfort and encourage you?

In my own life experience, my unit of family made up of shared DNA, has shattered apart from a family of 5 to a family of 2. And has hard as I have tried to re-connect with my other DNA partners, they have not reached out to make the re-connection.

My unit of family created by the lawful joining of my first husband and myself grew to contain 2 more units of shared DNA family members. That family also shattered apart to become 3 distinct family units of their own, only one of which has any real connection to this parental DNA unit.

I am very blessed to still have a very strong bond with my DNA mom, 1 son, and granddaughter. 🙂

I was also very blessed to have a second chance at becoming another family unit by the lawful joining of myself to a wonderul new hubby. By osmosis, I have been included into his DNA family units and enjoy a great relationship with my in-law “brothers and sisters”. These “in-law” family members have become much closer to me than my own DNA sharing sisters and father.

The VERY TRICKY part of this new family combination has been my hubby’s 2 DNA family units – known to me as “the step-kids”. This new type of family forces DNA sharers from one family to try to encorporate themselves, willingly or otherwise, into a new form of family unit.

For the past seven years I have worked very hard at not becoming the stereotypical “evil step-mother”. However, I regretfully confess that the evil step-mother may have come out for a wild ride recently. The “good” (ahem) stepmother had the straw that broke the camel’s back placed upon her already burdened shoulders and she had had enough of watching her beloved hubby being taken for granted and misused by his DNA units. So she spoke what she felt was the truth – and the truth was not well received – not well at all.

This whole dysfunctional family thing just keeps making me wonder what, exactly, is family supposed to be? And if the traditional sense of family is no longer functioning, is it okay to walk away from it and find your loving family with other people, whether or not they are genetically or lawfully joined to you?

Webster’s 1829 Dictionary gives the following definitions of “family”:

1. The collective body of persons who live in one house and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children and servants, and as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.

2. Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe or race; kindred; lineage. Thus the Israelites were a branch of the family of Abraham; and the descendants of Reuben, of Manasseh, &c., were called their families. The whole human race are the family of Adam, the human family.

3. Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors.

Since I believe that the institue of family was created by God, I am going to find out what He says about family in His Word.

The word in the Old Testament that has been translated to “family” is the Hebrew word “mishpâchâh”;
(mish-paw-khaw’) : a family, that is, circle of relatives; and by extension, a tribe or people.

In the New Testament, the Greek word “patria” (pat-ree-ah’) means: paternal descent, that is, (concretely) a group of families or a whole race (nation): – family, kindred, lineage.

Hmmmm –  after doing some research, my understanding of family has changed somewhat. I found it interesting to note that not once did I find a definition that actually states that a family is made up of people who love one another. According to Webster’s definition and the terms used in the Bible, family seems to simply mean humans who are connected through DNA and/or living arrangements.

Perhaps the misunderstanding of the term “family” is what causes so many problems? One assumes that to be part of a family means to be loved, yet so many of us know, unfortunately, that is not our reality. I think we believe that “family” automatically implies love, yet sharing DNA, or a lawful joining and/or a living arrangement does not guarantee love. In fact, it often inspires the opposite of love – hatred.

Since “family” seems to be a complex topic, I am going to do some more research and will continue sharing my thoughts in another post.

Blessings, and enjoy the following excerpt from “I’m My Own Grandpa” written by Moe Jaffe. 🙂

“I’m My Own Grandpa”

Now, many many years ago
When I was twenty three
I was married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Had hair of red
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life
My daughter was my mother
‘Cause she was my father’s wife

To complicate the matters
Even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle
Though it made me very sad

For if he was my uncle
That also made him the brother
Of the widow’s grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

 

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Good Days

It feels like I have been doing a lot of moaning and groaning on here lately so I decided that it was time to share something cheerful.

We had lovely Spring weather this past weekend. I invited my Mom up for a quick visit on Saturday. When she got here, we went for a drive along our lovely waterfront park. The water of Lake Huron was a deep, translucent jade colour. There were quite a number of people participating in the annual shoreline clean-up event. It was nice to see families working together to clean up our waterfront. Being on the prevailing wind side of a Great Lake, we get quite a lot of flotsam and jetsam accumulating after all the Winter storms that blow our way.

Then we drove to the top of the sand bluffs which may be 80 – 100 feet high above the lake. The town of Goderich was built upon these bluffs, which are the remnants of a glacial lake. From one vantage point we could see the mouth of the Maitland River flowing into the lake looking like a river of black oil against the jade green of the lake.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant that sits on the crest of a hill above the lake. It was nothing fancy but we enjoyed one another’s company.

My Mom had not been feeling well but I think that the sunshine, the scenery and my scintillating company helped to elevate her spirits a bit. I know that I enjoyed her company and she  gave me deliverance from cabin fever.

The weather was beautiful again on Sunday. Plans to meet up with my son and his family fell through so I asked my hubby if he felt like going for a drive to Sarnia to visit my Mom. I suggested that we have a picnic and walk around the park down there.

Instead of a picnic, we all went to Archie’s Albert’s, a well known local hot-dog stand situated almost underneath the large international Bluewater Bridge that joins Canada and the States. I pigged out on a spicy and very sloppy cheese dog. I had as much cheese sauce running down my fingers and hand as I had on the hotdog!

After the junk food delectables, we drove on winding roads through lovely Canatara Park. We stopped near the beach to look at the crumbling remains of the ice walls along the shoreline. A “Laker” ship was heading towards the entrance of the St. Clair River, which is a very busy shipping channel in the Great Lakes system.

We strolled along trails beneath an old oak forest. Small children were enjoying crunching through the dried leaves. In a small garden in an open area, white snowdrops, yellow and purples crocuses, and a bunch of beautiful purple mini irises were poking out. A young girl was learning how to skateboard while watchful grandparents strolled behind her. There were people of all ages out and about enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. Many of them were walking dogs. There were dogs of every size and description – I have never seen so many dogs in one place!

After our stroll, we parked ourselves on park benches overlooking the St. Clair River and proceeded to people watch. I got a chuckle watching three young kids rolling down a small hill, over and over again. Such innocent pastimes! We chatted with passing dog walkers and patted some pooches. There are always quite a few people fishing and we got a laugh when two anglers got their lines hooked together, unbeknownst to one of them. The angler who knew, jokingly gave his line a big tug making the other angler think that she had caught a fish. LOL

Afterwards, we went back to my Mom’s where we sat in the sun on the back deck drinking tea and eating chocolate chip cookies while feeding friendly black squirrels peanuts in the shell. Simple pleasures. 🙂

On our drive back home, my hubby and I stopped at a restaurant for a light supper. I happened to see a sign advertising no sugar added (magic words for someone, me, trying to lose weight) Moose Tracks ice cream so of course we just HAD to have some! YUM!

When we arrived home, the sun was just starting to set and it was still mild so we decided to go for a stroll around the neighbourhood. The air was scented with the fresh aroma of cedar and spicy camp fire smoke. The tree tops were filled with a variety of birds singing Evensong. So tranquil. What a lovely way to end a lovely day.

I thank God for the many blessings of this past weekend – the company of loved ones, sunshine, mild temperatures, and lovely scenery. God Is Good – All The Time!

Psa 31:19 How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You; 

Psa 107:8 Oh that men would praise Jehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!

A Family Affair

Well, another Christmas season has come and gone. I hope that yours was filled with love, hope, peace and joy.

My Christmas was somewhat bittersweet. My hubby and I spent Christmas Eve in a nice hotel room complete with large whirlpool tub. Christmas Day was spent with my lovely sister-in-law and her husband. We enjoyed spending a relaxing day in new Christmas pj’s. We even ate Christmas dinner wearing our pj’s and silly Santa hats! After dinner, my hubby and I strolled along the waterfront enjoying the beautiful light display (and we were still wearing our pj’s and I wore my Santa hat complete with white braids – lol).

After a filling Boxing Day brunch, we packed our things and drove home and spent the rest of the day by ourselves. My step-children were up for a visit for a couple of days which was a blessing for my hubby but which left me really missing my own children. In fact, spending time with various members of my husband’s family really brought home to me how far apart my own family is – not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

Physically, my mother and youngest son live 8 hours away from me in separate directions. My eldest son and my new grand-daughter live about 1/2 that distance away but were both very ill over the holidays. My two younger sisters live 5 and 6 hours away and my father lives on the other side of the country.

Other than my eldest son and my mom, we are not a close family. I don’t know why. To my mother and I, our family is the most important thing in our lives, next to our relationship with God. Family is especially important to me and my Mom because our family became splintered and separated when my dad left. My two younger sisters had to go live with him across the country!

Although my sisters eventually returned, our relationship was never the same – never as close as it was before they left. It seems that we still bare the scars of that separation. My sisters do not call, email or write me, my Mom or one another. Christmas was bereft of any communication of any kind.

My Mom and I have tried everything in our power to heal the breach. We love them. We miss them. It hurts.

For me, Christmas has always been about family. Now, some might say to me that it is not about family but about the birth of Jesus. Well, to me, the birth of Jesus is all about family. We lost our connection to our Heavenly Father when Adam and Eve sinned. God put into place a plan to bring us back into a family relationship with Him. That plan began with the birth of His son, Jesus.

God loves us.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son…

Rom 5:8 But God has made clear his love to us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us. (BBE)

God misses us and He wants us to be His children. He wants us to be a family again.

2Co 6:18 … I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

God loves us so much and misses us so much, that He gave to us His most cherished son, Jesus, so that we might be able to become His cherished sons and daughters too. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be a family again.

Joh 3:16 For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life. (BBE)

Luk 2:10, 11 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Christmas = Love = Family of God

I pray that you accept God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ so that we may share the same Heavenly Father and call one another ‘sister’ and ‘brother’.

Blessings

P.S.: After I began writing this post, God gave me two wonderful gifts – my father called for a chat (can’t remember the last time we spoke to one another) and one of my sister’s sent me a lovely, newsie email! GOD IS GOOD!