… Is everyday.
Today we gathered in our Florida driveway at an (ungodly) early hour to send off my sister her partner and my folks as they journey back to the North Pole (aka Ontario). As they drove off waving I thought about how great my family is. I’m one of the lucky ones who gets a family that I would also choose as friends.
We had so many chuckles in our few days together that my sides literally hurt. As with most family discussions eventually turn to bodily functions. But the lively dialogue is also interesting and informative (when it’s not in the gutter … and even then I discovered a few useful tips about spinach).
I’m finding that retirement provides the luxury of doing more listening than talking. For some reason (I may have a more profound notion about this in the future) not working and the related adrenaline surge allows me to redirect my emotions into reflection and observation instead of angst. As it turns out I like what others have to say and am content (more so than before) to sit and take it in without formulating a response while someone’s talking. I really like hearing diverse perspectives on a variety of topics. I may not agree but it’s still engaging and thought provoking.
For example we had a robust discussion about reparations after WWII. The war is one of my dads more favourite topics; he lived it, after all. My husband is a Civil War buff so battle talk is of interest to him too. Everyone can have a take on war – something that’s plagued our planet since the beginning of time. My uncle visiting from Berlin has a globalist perspective on wars. It was an intense debate. In the end I realized that there are some opinions that are firmly entrenched and can not be swayed. Your perspective and reality rule your consciousness.
I really believe that this theory applies to everything. If you try liver and hate it, you have a firm and deep conviction about liver and may never try it again. But what if someone were to prepare it so deliciously that you ate it and enjoyed it without knowing? Can our thoughts be tricked into certain patterns based on our experience and reality? I might have to go back to Psych101 and pay more attention; I never appreciated the usefulness or relevance the first time.
And that is the beauty of family debates. No matter the opinions of the others (as long as not criminal or immoral) you can agree to disagree and still love each other. I think that’s problematic in society; the who’s side are you on or polarization can lead to devastating results. We need more love.
Here’s some things I know about my family:
1. If I need help anytime or anywhere I know help would be there. No questions asked.
2. Time and space are irrelevant- when we connect we connect completely as though we haven’t skipped a beat.
3. Respect is honest empathy for one another. We always consider each others feelings and situations.
4. Bowel movements are good conversation pieces.
5. Hearing aids are marvellous. But not for everyone.
6. Personal hygiene and grooming are not personal in a family setting. It’s all fair game. Clipping. Trimming. Braiding. All of it.
7. A pool is a great venue for dodgeball. And races. And impromptu aquafit classes.
8. The ocean is a great place for a scavenger hunt. Especially for prescription sunglasses.
9. Gurken Ballen is a thing.
10. Girls rule at card games. And most other things for that matter.
So here’s a great summation to the day: as my family drove off Rudy asked if I was ok. He kissed me and we took Molly for a walk. Without even saying a word he totally got it.
Happy Family Day. With love.