May is Divorce Awareness Month and I want to start talking about family right now.
Family is not something you can opt out of. If you have a family it’s your full-time, lifelong, never-ending job. If you love your family, or hate your family, it doesn’t matter. Nobody gets to chose who they are born to, who their siblings are, or even who their extended family is. You might have gotten stuck with the entire population of Loserville but they are yours forever. Learn to love them, even if you don’t like them. Every person has something nice about them; make it your hobby to find it. Learn to make family events a time that everyone can enjoy without having to hear one another’s opinion about one another.
Someone said once that some things just have to be said, and they believed they were the right person for the job. I disagree. Not everything has to be said, talked about, or hashed out, especially at family events, functions, or holiday gatherings.
In the same way that you didn’t get to choose your family, they also didn’t get to chose you. They might not be thanking God everyday that you are a part of the family. Take a moment to be amazed. Now wipe your eyes and suck in your lip. This holds especially true with in-laws. In-laws are tricky, most of us have them and so most of us are them. You may be madly in love with your spouse but rather out of love with his/her family. That’s okay. You’ll just have to pretend for the rest of your life. I’m not kidding. You are probably not the person your mother-in-law prayed her baby would marry. If you are, then you’re lucky, and so is she. We have many differing opinions about child rearing in my family. I am responsible to discuss my own only with my husband. I don’t get to offer my opinions to my siblings or my husband’s siblings, and neither would I want to be told how to raise my own perfect little darlings. If you are asked for advice, give it gently and cautiously and don’t assume that because they asked for it, your advice will be regarded.
Family is not a choice. Your only choice is what to make of it.
***This is in no way a reflection of or directed at any member my wonderful set of in-laws. I love each and every stinkin' one of you.
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