My friend was describing memories spent with her grandparents. What was remarkable, was this bond wasn’t dissolved because her mother and father divorced when she was a young teen. Instead her grandparents took special effort to stay in touch with her mother, their now “former” daughter-in-law, arranged visits, and made phone calls to see how things were going in school. “They worked hard to make sure they stayed in touch with me,” she said.
As I thought about her comments, I couldn’t help but think about how family dynamics are changing daily due to politics and decisions made within a given family unit. Laws are changing from the traditional man and woman union, to same sex marriages. Divorced families also lend a unique mix since there are “blended” units which can get quite complicated when there are divorces on both sides and perhaps even more than one divorce per individual. Sometimes family units are blended because of a death of one of the spouses. There is also the foster and adoptive families and grandparents raising grandchildren elements, which is becoming more and more frequent, due to lifestyles of children who would do their child harm rather than offering tender, parental direction. Another situation can include the military family, creating yet another type of unit and I’m certain I haven’t tapped into all the viable options.
With all the possibilities, is it any wonder families struggle with unification, especially when you add the element of geography. Since our world is so mobile, with families living far apart from others, “staying in touch” can be difficult at best, even with all the social media available.
I know when we travel, I rely heavily on email and telephone calls. I miss the one on one, not only with my children, but the grandchildren. It gives me great pleasure to hear their voices on the phone or better yet, see them via face time or skype.
With our world of uncertainties, family is especially important. Those we love and care about are the constant in our world of temporary moments. It is they who keep us grounded and remind us what is important. It matters not how much material possessions a person can accumulate if you have no one close to you, to share it with.
Our ups and downs, success and failures can be higher or lower than our personal expectations, often depending on our support group, …..or lack of a support group. We are happiest when those we care about support us and it is usually in our “home network” we find our greatest endorsement.
So I encourage you to reflect on those within your specific family network. Do you support their dreams? Are you doing your best to stay in touch to offer reinforcement and strength, even if many geographic miles separate you? We need each other and families are a special gift, set apart for just this purpose!