Parenting Seminars

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Family Commitments

I have been gone a while, I know.  Sometimes the universe asks for a bit more focus in one area of my life and it requires me to put all my energy there.  This past month has been focused on family.  My own small nucleus, my family of origin and extended family.  I have been wanting to write about so many pieces along the way.  And yet, continued to hesitate.  Wanting to respect privacy, respect each person's process.  Wanting to honor the movement, the stalls, the stress, the joys without taking them out of context.

And now as I reflect on the past month, I think about how dynamic family can be.  How we are all placed or place ourselves into these clans with a life's mission to re-invent our roles constantly.  There is no stagnation even when some members try to create stone characters of ourselves.  We are ever changing beings taking on new tasks and responsibilities as we grow and learn more about ourselves, our potential, our relationships with each other. 

I found myself supporting my parents through a very trying time after they lost all of their possessions and their home to a fire.  I watched in wonder as my 4 siblings and I rallied and reflected on our resources and skills and how to best share of ourselves.  I felt such pride in how we were able to step above differing perspectives to get to the basics of what was needed.  This family I was born into now has 7 adults with 5 spouses and 9 children among them.  There are plenty of perspectives.  And yet, when tragedy strikes, there is alignment, consensus, united forces. 

And I marveled at my parents, dancing between trauma, dispair, loss and potential, gratitude, and peace.  I am grateful that they were able to accept help and yet I was and am conscious about not taking over.  Not parenting them.  My mom mentioned at one point that it was hard to go shopping.  It wasn't fun or relaxing.  It was stressful and overwhelming.  I watched them try to make decisions about things that in another time would have been easy but now required lots of energy.  Maybe the consequences were bigger but I also think the sheer number and importance of each decision was overwhelming. 

I was thinking about people who deal with trauma on a daily basis.  Who function under a level of stress that we only get in small doses.  Even my parent's experience is an isolated event.  They have the skills, the family and community support and emotional bank account to move through this and find some peace on the other side.  But people who are in life situations that always have them on guard must be experiencing a level of confusion, overwhelm, stress and disorientation that is debilitating.  I understand alcoholism, abuse, retaliation, homelessness in a different way now. 

And I think back to family.  One that is strong enough to rally, to support, to heal the small and big moments we experience in our lives.  Without that, we are often lost.  Because how often do we step up and respond to others whom we do not know as well as we do with our family?  So I came home to my two girls and my husband and I see my role as a bit different today.  I'm reminded, in the midst of all life's daily tasks, that I have a greater purpose in this little clan.  In the process of us discovering ourselves throughout life, we need each other to scaffold, to prop us up, to gather round when we are hurt, troubled, lost and beaten.  We are vital to each other's survival.  And there are lots of folks without this family structure who need us to see them as family.  To act as we would with family.  I'm thinking I have a new mission calling me.  We'll see where that goes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gretchen, this was beautifully written and came perfectly timed. Aren't all of our humble reminders always perfectly timed?! Thank you, sister.