About a month ago, when I was recovering from my surgery, I had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to have my family get "professional" pictures taken. I had talked to the kids before about it and they balked about it, but when your mother who just got her cancer removed asks...well, you know.
The next time we would all be together was for Jim's 60th birthday. I asked my friend, the professional photographer, to take pictures if she was available that time and she said she was. I invited her and her hubby over for dinner and the pictures were taken.
Fast forward a few weeks and the pictures were emailed to me to look at. At first, I looked and my first thought was....." I look terrible". Then I went through them and thought...."Jeez, Jim looks so old." I looked at the ones with all of us and decided they were good, I mean the kids look good...they look like themselves and how I see them and I was thrilled. I started to think about how Jim and I look and realized that I really don't look at him or myself much. I mean I look, but I don't see myself or Jim. I see us and don't think about what we really look like. We tell each other that "we are who we are" and go about our lives.
Last night, I posted the pictures of my gang on Facebook. I got tons of responses that said, "Beautiful family" and I was pleased. Honestly, I didn't expect that response and I said to myself, " we are far from beautiful."
I have some friends that have "beautiful" as in looks, families. They are very pleasing to the eye and have the looks of models. That, I'm aftraid, is not my family. " We are who we are" and I don't say that in a "not pleasing to the eye way" but we are all a combination of each other and the kids are too. We are regular people who try to remember what life is about and have fun when we are together.
Then I got to thinking...Every family is a beautiful family! They are a combination of each other, of the living daily as they grew and the leaving each other to brave the world alone. Family is a beautiful patchwork of the quiet one, the loud one, the smart one or the ones that don't fit any mold. Families are all missing teeth at some point, whether to get dentures in the older folks and growing new teeth in the younger ones. Both of those times are beautiful. There are times when parents don't feel like they have beautiful families, when there isn't a moment devoted to anything but keeping the kids afloat, or times when one of the parents cannot stand the other and the kids are wondering what is going to happen with their family. It is all part of being human and having misunderstandings and vying for power. It is what every family does.
I have been listening to podcasts lately and a quote I heard that I really resonate with is, "the enemy of happiness is comparison" and I believe that. I used to be such a "comparer" and saw folks that I thought were the "perfect" family. Then I would look at my kids and family and think I needed to work harder and figure out what I needed to do to make my family "better" as if who we were at the time was not good enough. I regret that now because honestly, who we were then hasn't changed much and I love who we are now. They were loud, energetic, argumentative, loving, kind and busy...Like every family learning to grow up and learn about life.
So I say it again...every family is beautiful...in their own way. Maybe beautiful in a different way than some of us find beauty. They may have different views than you and do things different than you. They may have a giant home or a little cabin with no room for anyone to have their own room...They may yell too much at each other or not talk at all to each other. But they are a group of humans that are infinitely linked and doing the beautiful work that families do. There is no question the work of families staying together and supporting eachother while navigating life is stunningly beautiful!
So thanks for all the comments about my beautiful family. I say right back at you with yours, professional portraits or not!
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,