Family: A Conversation About Fantasy vs Reality and The Sad Story of The Stauffers.
Welcome to another episode of Wild and Precious Conversations. This week is a short episode to queue up next week’s conversation with my sister and my cousins. We talk regularly, so we thought we’d give it a go with a basic theme and ample time to talk…but the conversation just didn’t work as an episode so we’re trying again. This week, you’ve got me for around 25 minutes with some thoughts on the fantasy versus reality of family. Funny, it occurred to me this week that family is most easily
Aug 27, 2020
(reading time: 3 min.)

Welcome to another episode of Wild and Precious Conversations. This week is a short episode to queue up next week’s conversation with my sister and my cousins.

We talk regularly, so we thought we’d give it a go with a basic theme and ample time to talk…but the conversation just didn’t work as an episode so we’re trying again.

This week, you’ve got me for around 25 minutes with some thoughts on the fantasy versus reality of family.

Funny, it occurred to me this week that family is most easily the one subject I feel like I can speak on with some authority, humility, and confidence. I know family. And I know I don’t know family.

What I know: Family is sacred. Of the relationships available to us in our culture, family is the invited, most-inner circle. The relationship held in highest esteem, the relationship with the most obligation.

It’s also, weirdly, given very little space to flourish.

I think that is why there is a gap in the fantasy of family versus the reality of family.

I take the incredibly sad story of the Stauffer family’s choice to adopt and then un-adopt a son as an apt example of the fantasy of family butted up against the reality.

The fantasy says that what you need for a healthy family is a bullet point list of things like a regular schedule, family dinners, neat clothes, good grades, and a mission statement.

The reality, it turns out, is much simpler: You, the adult family members, when you get triggered (and you will) need to do your work. Get therapy, heal, whatever you need to do to grow from that trigger until you are triggered no more…until the next trigger, and the next.

That simple reality costs a lot of time and money. It is not something most families can afford — either because they don’t have the time, don’t have the money, or don’t have the emotional strength.

No shade but until we’re willing to admit that the one thing we need to do to have a healthy family is the one thing we can’t/won’t do, I firmly believe we’re going to continue to have a rather large gap in the fantasy of the healthy family versus the reality.


What I talked about:

  • First,  Family is sacred.
  • Second,   My foray into creating a family — I did not go willingly or easily down the path. I was not naturally nurturing. I never wanted to be a mother or really to have a family at all.
  • Third,  Family means nobody gets left behind. Meet the Stauffer family who adopted and then un-adopted their son.
  • Fourth,  People, having a healthy family means committing to your own health first. Put your oxygen mask on and then dive in.

Notes:

Onward  to Family, part 2. I love the idea that we choose our family and I love the  idea that we nurture the hell out of the relationships with those we did  not chose. Both. All. And, I acknowledge that sometimes we need to  pause a relationship while the other person catches up a bit. Look for the Monday morning newsletter, and our conversation  from the Wild and  Precious podcast episode on  Thursday  with  My Family: my sister and my  two cousins. Honestly, it’s going to be quite the conversation.

The  Underbelly Project: A weekly workout for your emotional strength and             flexibility. If  you’re not afraid to get dusty and maybe shed a  few tears together, join  me and let’s get emotionally strong!

And please, if you know anyone who might like to share this journey, share this project. Excited to stay in the arena with you.

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