Family is a funny thing. It comes in all shapes and sizes! Some people run from it while others embrace it. Some people hide their families existent while others are so close it can get a little weird. Family can be simple or complicated.
For me, family is complicated. My family on all 3 sides (mum, dad and husband) are large, loud and oh so very different!
Lets take side number one.
The mother’s side, which for the record includes all siblings too.
They are the christian of the christian. Pastors kids and been going to church before they were born. I have 2 aunts and 1 uncle. 3 cousins and 3 grandparents. I am the eldest grandchild/niece on mums’ side. Both my Nana and uncle are dead and my grandfather is half dead so I really I’ve got 2 aunts and 3 cousins left. I don’t really talk to anyone in the “step” side to my family – since I am longer being forced to family gatherings. (yay!) But truth be told, it really doesn’t bather me at all. I get the basic info via Facebook. It’s entire goal to keep tabs on those family members you don’t want to speak to yet still want to be nosy. (side note; my grandfather married my step-grandmother when my mum was little. Grandma already had 2 kids. She also has 1 brother and sister, and multiple nieces and nephews who are all mums age or older.)
I kinda fit into this side. Like a puzzle piece that is almost but not quite the right shape but you pretend anyway. I’ve always felt the odd one out. I’m funny but not that funny. I’m good at art but not that good and well you get the idea. My younger sister is hilarious! She got the funny, good-looking gene. My youngest sister got every fibre that was my Nana just with a height bonus. My brother.. Theres hope for him yet! Jokes. He is a good kid that got dealt a bad hand. I love my family but I have learnt to accept that I don’t truly fit into side number one.
Side number two. My fathers side of the gene pool. This one is complicated as an onion. The more you peel, the more your eyes water. I have 3 uncles, 3 aunts, 3 cousins and zero grandparents. Well I did at one point but they both died; so moving on.
Heres the honest truth. My dad screwed us over when it came to being able to visit our cousins. The lies he told hurt a lot of people in my family and because I was so young there wasn’t anything I could do. My aunts and uncles had no choice but to believe what my father said about us because no-one challenged his lies and manipulation. Or if they did, it didn’t work. I missed growing up with my cousins because of his mind games. My parents divorced 13 years ago and I am only just now able to start repairing the damage that was done. Its gonna be a long time yet before its fully healed and whole again.
This side however is where I fit in best. We walk, talk and act like each other. Sometimes you can’t help but say “holy crap we’re related!” Its only been in the last 3 years that my older cousin and I have made a very conscious and intentional choice to be in each others lives. We have the same value – Family matters – which is super helpful in being honest and connected. After Abbie was born, I didn’t want her to miss out on a side of my family like I did. And as a result of our persevering and intentional connection, Uncle Russell has a very special place in Abbie’s heart. Not a day go by when I don’t hear “I love Uncle Russell. He is my favourite.”
But the only way that the relationship between the sides of my family will happen is if I work in Gods timing. I have to trust that He knows my heart and how deep my desire to be reconnected with all of my dad’s side is. I’m working with 1 person at a time. I move when God opens a door or a window. I have faith that my family will have restored to them what was robbed.
Side three. Ah the halls. If I was to pick 2 things to describe this side. Amazing food and healing conversation. When James and I first started dating there was no hesitation to welcome me into the family. They have shown grace, honour and compassion to me when we had no-one else. Most, if not all family members are christian, a fact to which I am very grateful for! Family gatherings are something of a fabulous occasion where kids run free and coffee overflows. I don’t think they know but they have done wonders in healing and correcting my perspective on family. I remember the very first boxing day gathering where I met the ENTIRE family. Which let me tell is slightly overwhelming cause there a lot of Halls’!!! I was 30 weeks pregnant and James had just lost his job. Not one person there made us feel ashamed or uncomfortable. The love that I was enveloped in is something I will never forget. We had no money for anything and in the most gracious way possible they gave us so much stuff!! Clothes for me and Abbie, a port-a-cot, bassinet, high chair, pillows, baby toys, and blankets.
They showed me that family doesn’t have to be this highly emotion and complicated mess. Don’t get me wrong my siblings, mum and I have been through hell and back and we still have a relationship with each other but we were so fragile back then that what I needed the most at that time they just couldn’t give me. I’m not gonna lie, it deeply hurt from some of the stuff that was said and done towards James and I. But I think we’ve all grown up, learnt and moved from it.
I was given permission and frankly it was expected of me to just be myself. No matter what that looked like! There was no strings attached to their love which was an entirely new experience for me. To be apart of a family that wasn’t falling apart or crazy complicated was the most healing and refreshing thing of my entire life.
Our own little family has a unique style. I’ve learnt the “what not to do” and James has the “What to do”. So together we make a pretty good team. Abbie has such a mix of us that it just makes you smile. My personality has a little mini me which is making for a super fun time. But what I think makes us a unique family is that we don’t do complicated. Our daily routine is simple and quiet. Note; I did not say easy breezy. We’ve both done complicated for so long that we avoid it very well.
So instead we have honour, kind hearts, and live intentionally.
Till next time,