You Can't Choose Your Family...

For the last several months, I’ve been dealing with some heavy family stuff. At first, I was consumed with anger. It has taken considerable restraint to not blast the water cannon, as it were, in this space. Instead, I’ve turned to my therapist to help process things. Jon and I have spent countless hours trying to figure out ways to cope and move forward.

More recently though, I’ve moved from anger to sadness. I have reached out with zero response, leaving me feeling hopeless about healing and reconciliation. I often wonder how things got so complicated. I envision intervention. I worry about emotional (and physical) combustion.

But then there are times like this weekend. On Friday, a few of my lovely sisters came over to honor a movie night invitation from Laurel and we enjoyed pizza and ice cream like the good old days. During the movie, Laurel looked like her head was going to pop off from happiness while sitting on her “auntie throne” (sitting on one auntie’s lap, with an auntie snuggled in on either side). Two of my sisters slept over and bunked with Laurel and I could hear happy giggling late into the evening as I drifted off to sleep with Violet.

And then there was yesterday, where we spent many happy hours with my cousin and her family – Laurel gets along beautifully with their twins. We enjoyed food, candid conversation, and lots and lots of laughs. The kids played happily with nary a disagreement. Laurel slept over. According to my cousin, there was lots of giggling and snuggling late into the evening. I couldn’t help but think (and be comforted by the thought) that if Jon and I got hit by a meteor, Laurel could be really happy with this family. (And yes, I wonder whether I should discuss this with my cousin and update our will.)

Invariably -- and when out of earshot of the kids -- conversation drifted to the heavy family stuff and the oft used phrase, “You can’t choose your family…” often reverberated in my head. But as I lived the moments of this weekend, I felt immense gratitude. You may not be able to choose your family, but at the very least, you can choose which family members to focus your energy and love on.

And this weekend made me feel fortunate to have choices.