What Family Should Be Like

Ah, family… If you were fortunate enough to live in a functional one, consider yourself blessed. Most people these days aren’t so fortunate. A culture of dysfunction is prevalent. If you have anyone in your family that is in your corner consider yourself lucky. There aren’t many people in my family that fit the “in your corner” bill, but I have that one cousin that is alway letting me know that he is.  I don’t hear these words from anyone but him: I’m proud of you. And, remember, “family isn’t always blood”.

My cousin Allen and I are about a year apart. Whenever things aren’t going right, I can count on him to be positive and uplifting. Since I’m not especially close to my parents, and have a non existent relationship with my only sibling, it’s nice to know that I have family that cares.  He let’s me know what the rest of the family refuses to tell me: I’m on the right track, that you can always start over, mistakes make you stronger and that someone is in my corner. I know who I can count on, to not put me down during the times I’m struggling.

Then there’s Rachel my “other mom”. She’s actually my best friend’s mother. I can talk to her about anything. Why? She listens, really listens. I don’t have to worry about every mistake I’ve ever made being thrown in my face. We talk about things that are going on in the present, and what I need to do about it. She validates my feelings. I really feel understood and heard when we’re talking.  She’s logical, rational, helps me put things in perspective. And, the best part: she doesn’t try to shut me down when she doesn’t like what I’m saying. She empathizes. She doesn’t justify, make excuses, or try to invalidate my grievances.

I can’t forget Danielle, my “little sister”. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have her as a friend and confidante. As a business partner, she’s awesome. We think just enough alike to work together well, and just enough differently to make a business work. I trust her, and we are able to work through issues with mutual respect and confidence. She makes me laugh, and we’ve shed some tears together. She’s loyal, and loyalty is what I treasure these days the most.

My kids are my lifeline. I can’t say enough about how much I love them. It’s not always easy being a parent, and at any given time there will be problems. They are the reason for me achieving the things that I do. They remind me that they love me the minute I feel like giving up. They show love, gratitude and appreciation for what I do for them. They aren’t perfect, but are loving and care. They’re hard working, and sensitive. They understand that life doesn’t revolve around them, and are discerning. They have integrity, great character, values and morals that make me proud. I love them, and can’t believe that I gave birth to such fantastic people.

Thank goodness for Mark. Everyone should have a friend like this man. He’s positive, accomplished, encouraging, and most importantly willing to help out his friends. Consistently eager to lend a helping hand, with a positive message and actions that follow. This man talks the talk, and walks the walk. He’s smart, well connected, and easy going. Because he’s constantly looking to grow and improve, he’s willing and open to listen to: opinions, ideas, and thoughts that are different from his own. He has his ego in check, his humility and giving, selfless nature are honorable.

And last, but not least: Justine. We are so much alike. I love her laugh, and she’s a kind and giving person. Hardworking mom, with a fantastic singing voice. Who wouldn’t want a friend that you can share with, and understands what you’re going through? She’s smart, knows how to really listen. Wise, and her advice is spot on. Conversations with her are also uplifting, and she really knows how to make you feel welcome when you’re around her. She knows no strangers, and she smiles a lot. You can feel the happiness in her presence.

Most people just don’t know how to love, especially in families. Many are under the false belief that you can mistreat family, and there’s not a thing they can do about it. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you are: disrespectful, condescending, judgmental, critical, harsh, abusive, rejecting and unloving? You don’t deserve a pass just because you are family. In fact, family members are the one set of people who have the right to call you on it. Period. It’s delusional to expect family to accept mistreatment and still want to be around you. Charity begins in the home, if it doesn’t happen there? Then you’ll live a life of seeking it in all the wrong places and people.