Sunday, April 26, 2009

Family Dynamics

It is interesting to me how as your children grow up into adults with families of their own the whole dynamics of the term "family" changes. Let me explain. As a parent, my family is and will always be the circle of me, my spouse, and my children. As the children go off and get married and have circle expands. My family now also includes their spouses and their children, (my grandchildren). Sometimes it even includes their spouse's extended family. They become my family, also. But, it seems I've also noticed a strange phenomenon. It's not really that strange, but whatever. My children's "family" circle becomes different. It becomes them, their spouse, and their children. Their own brothers and sisters are all still included in their family circle, also. But I've noticed that we, "their parents" become less and less a part of their family circle. "We" began to be excluded and they began to have "family" excursions without including us. Surprisingly, they no longer want to spend time with us. Hey! I know! It's weird, huh? Somehow...they no longer really see their parents as an essential part of their family.
As a parent, I guess it's difficult to understand why you some how have slipped from the pedestal you once stood on and have fallen in their eyes to the level of being somewhere between a pesky, annoying mosquito to a downright pain in their patooty! Now, may I state that as a parent, you never intend to become that! But somehow, amid their teenage years, your voice to them becomes as shrill as the scratching of fingernails across a blackboard and you begin to think that your questions are written on the ceiling the way they roll their eyes at you.
My brain realizes that this has become the way of family dynamics to this generation. It wasn't all that long ago that granny and gramps was essential to the family, and I'm sure Carol Brady and Marian Cunningham were always needed for crucial decision making in their children's lives and always a welcomed addition to Marcia and Ritchie's family outings.
Alas, this is no longer the case. Which brings me to the subject at hand.
As a parent, I wish I could take the higher road....I wish I had no feelings to express, which would make all of my children's life easier. But, I'm going to lay it out there. Sometimes it hurts! My brain heart hurts. My brain understands that my children and their families all want to go together on a summer outing. My heart says...why didn't they want and need us. Why does our role as parents never end but their role as our children ends the day they head to college?
It's a question that I'll ask God someday...and I'm sure He'll answer, "My children leave me out all the time, too. They don't seem to need or want me, either. They don't invite me along on their outings or to their homes, either. And heaven forbid, that they pay a price for Me. My heart understands this all too well. But, rest assured, I made the family dynamics, the family circle, that way on purpose. You see, a parent's heart is always bigger than their child's heart. It can take the pain. Pain helps the heart grow bigger and softer. It makes you vulnerable and real. That's a good thing. But I tell you the truth, my child, someday your child's heart will grow into a parent's heart. And when that happens, they'll understand, and they will have days that their heart will ache and hurt so bad they won't believe they can hardly stand it. But it will stretch their heart. And that in turn will stretch your heart somemore, also. In fact, somedays the pain will stretch your heart so big you will believe it will explode or break. But it won't, because I am the heart expert and making big, soft hearts is what I'm all about. So get use to it. And learn by looking at how you treat your own parents. Their hearts are the biggest and softest of all."

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