Tag: building family connection
The other day as I got off the bus, I spotted a sweet young couple sitting at a sidewalk cafe. One on each side of a teeny new baby, maybe 2 or 3 months old. They were holding hands over the top of the car seat with one hand and touching her with the other. It was the picture perfect scene of a new family falling in love with each other. Fatigued but satisfied and sort of in amazement at this little life between them.
As I walked by I smiled and said “Aren’t you a sweet and beautiful picture!” And my heart opened up to take it all in and to marvel at the perfection, the appreciation, the simplicity and the unfathomable love of it all.
As I walked the rest of the way home I could feel the effects of that sighting on my psyche. Bliss. Joy. Happiness and deep love for mankind. And I realized, that same feeling I had when I glimpsed that little family, that was how I would greet my own sweet little family too when I walked in the door. I would see them with that wide open heart. And I would comment to each and everyone of them how sweet and beautiful they were.
I laughed to myself and wondered aloud why I would do it any other way??!! (And I think at this point any passers by were wondering what I was on or up to.)
So many times on my way home my head starts spinning with logistics: who is going where, who needs what, what will supper be, what moods are people in, is there bread for lunches tomorrow and on and on. And instead, for that moment, I was going to let all that stuff go in the name of feeling the big, deep love. The logistics would wait. Because really, wondering whether there was bread wasn’t going to make bread appear or disappear.
So when I got home, there they all were, in the livingroom, at the table, on the couch, on the floor and I looked at each and every one of them, as individuals and as an entity, and I said, “Aren’t you a sweet, beautiful picture!”
Simple as that*. And my heart opened up a little wider still.
*If this sounds ridiculously simple, it’s because it really and truly is!
What does family time look like? It’s different in every house of course with the ultimate goal being time together, connection. In our family some of our favorite family time is outdoors – in the yard, on our bikes, romping in the neighborhood creek or anywhere else outside. It’s a noise thing I’m sure, the outdoors seems able to absorb it all. It’s a space thing too as the outdoors seems to have room for all of us and all of our motion filled selves. That’s what works for us.
Just last night, with the first cold air of fall we had a bonfire in the yard after dinner. Just an hour or so in the yard, fire roaring, everyone playing. It was the ultimate way to wrap up our weekend and get ready to begin another week.
I was talking to a friend last week who told me her family of four all does Kung Fu together. They all go. Mom, Dad, and 2 daughters too. They all get to exercise and at the same time they get a slated hour twice a week to just be together building memories and creating connection. It’s on their calendars. They all love it – especially the teenager in the house. And she said even if they’re feeling kind of snarky or otherwise cranky, family Kung Fu holds the power to bring them all together and minimize grumpy impact. The family that kicks together, sticks together kind of thing.
I love this! And it makes me realize even more that family time is different in every household. I’d love to know what others are doing in the name of family connection.
Where we are now is not where we will always be. I think in parenting this is a really difficult concept to grasp. When we have infants, we are so immersed that it is hard to think our wee ones will one day be walking, talking, joke sharing toddlers. With toddlers, its hard to imagine that we’ll one day (soon even) have big kids that can clear the table on their own and play cards with us. And eventually, all these little people with whom we share our lives and our homes, will one day be adults with whom we will share thoughts, ideas and maybe even go to for advice.
If you want to grasp this concept more fully, that childhood is fleeting and the people we raise will be adults for a whole lot longer than they are children, here’s a fun and simple exercise…
Write down the names and ages of all the people in your immediate family – the parents and the kids. Now add 20 years. That’s it. That’s the whole exercise. The point being that it really does go fast. And the connection we seek then can be put into place now in little and mindful chunks.
Take a day off. Play in the yard. Skip the chores one afternoon and lay around and read together. Greet each other in the morning as if you haven’t seen each other in months. Take ten minutes to listen to a kids’ story about the kid at school. Turn off your phone on occasion. Turn off the screens. Look at each other. Listen. Enjoy each other’s company.
What you put in now will come back to you later a thousand fold.