A friend had a sign once in her home that read:
Friends are our chosen families
Honestly, with life circumstances that often left me with little family of my own (and what I had was not pleasant), I really felt the strength of that statement. My friends had been the people that filled the void that was left behind when my own flesh and blood couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be there. Much like family, we had our quirks and things we just tolerated out of love for one another–but there was more laughter than pain, for sure.
When my family relocated halfway across the country a few years ago, we were suddenly at a loss for family in any way, shape or form–blood or chosen. We didn’t realize that the “family” we had cultivated back home took place over the course of many years. We had grown into one another. But about a year into our new home state, I suddenly felt like I wasn’t myself at all. It took some thinking and digging and chatting with my husband and people I was still connected to from “home”… plus a trip back… to realize that I had not really chosen my new community at all. In fact, I took no care with who I allowed into my life–I just allowed people in. (That whole phenomenon inspired my “Who’s in your space?” post)
But here’s the thing: this is big for my KIDS. Why? Because these are people we will spend a lot of time with and they are going to model behavior for my kids. These are the people that I will likely trust to be alone with my kids when husbeau and I drive almost 2 hours one way for a full day class on “so ya think you want to be a farmer”. These are the people my kids will see as being important based on the amount of time they spend with our family–and therefore will trust to talk to and ask questions of. Some of those questions might be pretty big questions that our kids aren’t sure about coming to us with (hope not, but I’m a realist).
I’m not saying they have to have all the “right” answers, but I want to know that it happened. I want my kids to have role models that are doing things that I wouldn’t mind seeing them do. I want to surround us with people that respect and regard my kids similarly to the way we do. And respect and regard their kids that way, too. I’m not talking about ALL of our friends, here, I’m talking about the Inner Circle. The people you feel like you could call at 3am when you need someone to watch the kids while you take the husband to the hospital for vomiting he can’t stop. Those people. They’re not just there for us. They’re there for our kids. As we are their for their kids.
A few days ago was the Autumnal Equinox–when the amount of daylight equals the amount of darkness for just one day. It happens once in the spring and once in the fall. But it’s a good time to think about balance. Are your relationships in balance? Do you have an Inner Circle? Or do you have mostly friends? Are the people in your life there mostly for you? Or mostly for or about the kids? Maybe it’s time to look at life and reprioritize. Consider how you can consciously prune and nurture different relationships to better balance who shares your family’s time.
Much, much love to you…