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:
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.