Relationships are a choice... yes even family relationships. It's said that you can't help the family in which you're born, but you can help how you treat those family members. And you can help how you react when you feel you've been mistreated by others.
With blended families, that choice is even more important. I'll talk about that in a future blog.
For now, let's discuss family relationships. I was raised with three older brothers. Yes, I was the youngest, and the only girl...and probably a bit spoiled! My brothers knew how to work this to their advantage though.
On family trips, if they wanted to stop at Dairy Queen for a treat, my brothers nudged me and said "Hey, Beck, ask Dad if we can stop for ice cream." It was me who had to "ask Dad." They knew their chances were better if I did the asking.
As we've grown older and have lived our separate lives and even celebrated the fact that one of my brothers became a grandfather this year (gasp!), we could easily not remain close. Especially since the four of us live in three different states.
In fact, with one of my brothers, there was a period of time that we weren't getting along so well... we had lost our "friendship." Yes, we still hugged, were glad to see each other at family gatherings, and all of that. But we had lost that deeper connection that I still had with my other two brothers. It saddened me, but I chalked it up to the fact that we had gotten older and just went our separate ways.
Then there came a wonderful weekend. A spontaneous visit that turned out to be the weekend where my brother and I spent time one-on-one. Despite my parents and my husband being part of this weekend, something was in the air, and my brother and I were left alone on my parents back patio, and talked for hours.
It was one of those good talks. We started our discussing our mutual interests like writing and tennis, although he's a big fan of Rafa Nadal and I'm a fan of Roger Federer. That only made the conversation more endearing. We talked of our childhood and laughed at our different recollections of the same event.
In a single conversation (although long conversation), my brother and I found our connection again. We focused on our commonality, and respected our differences. We made the choice to be friends again, and hang on to our relationship.
While in some ways, I have an easier relationship with my other two brothers, I will always appreciate this special time I spent with this third brother.
Thankfully, I can tell you stories of special times with each of my brothers. I am grateful that we all have the bond where we choose to be friends and choose to be a part of one another's lives.
It's so easy to walk away... and with certain friendships and relationships, sometimes you need to walk away.
But my brothers and I have chosen to remain as close as we possibly can. We choose to enjoy the times we spend together and do our best to respect our differences.
We'll talk more about our relationship choices again.
But for now, what about you? What choices are you making in your family relationships?