Family Really is Everything

In order to know where we are in life, sometimes you need to know where we've been for it all to make sense. 

For the first years or so of my life, Christmas eves were spent at my MawMaw and PawPaw's, opening presents from Aunts and Uncles and watching for Rudolph's nose in the sky with Uncle Bruce. Once the Sansing family started changing generational hands, my Daddy took it upon himself to make sure we keep the traditions alive. Now we meet for Sansing Christmas at the Camp. 

For the past 33 Christmases, I've gone to my Pop and Granny's on Christmas day.  Junkin Christmas was a little different this year, too. We had it early, at my Mama's house. There were no traditional pictures in front of the tree with unintentionally coordinated outfits. It was different, but a good different. It's a hard pill to swallow when generations and patriarchs leave. But, I am ever-so-thankful that both sides of my family view family togetherness and family relationships as the most important thing in life.  They really do. I'm closer to some of my second and third cousins than most people are to their first cousins. Some of my first cousins (that's you Danielle and Brock) are more like siblings to me. And we're closer than most siblings. And to us, it's absolutely normal.  Family is the only way to keep tradition and family values alive. We actually love each other....and for the most part, (GASP) actually really like each other!  

The new era in the family is a little different. People these days are more scattered. Mama's and GrandMama's have to go to work. Daddy's have to work on the weekend. We can't go to my Mama's and have lunch every Sunday for Arleigh and Swayze to make their own memories, and it really stinks. The thought of me and Brock fighting over the last chicken leg at Maw Maws, creating mysteries in the scary closet, almost stepping on a rattlesnake, milking cows, gathering eggs, feeding goats, feeding our summer watermelon rinds to the hogs....the list for our "old" Sundays goes on and on. 

Or the fact that Arleigh can't just get off the bus at NanO's every day. She's not going to spend nearly as much time with her grandparents as I did throughout my childhood. Granny's was HOME for me. And it's not that we don't want Arleigh to grow up the old way, but for the fact that miles are between us now.

I learned to cook and put on a spread from Granny. I learned hospitality from Granny. I learned values and love from Granny. My secrets died when she did. Just like Josh learned everything from Pop. They were our neighbors and our grandparents. It was our own little island away from the world. When I'd run away from home, I'd run through the woods to my Granny. (And my Uncle Richard, too.) There we were perfect. There we were loved. There we got to be kids. Real kids, with no TV (oh the horror!). We'd get off the bus in the afternoon and be greeted with a special snack and half of one of Pop's canned cokes. On rainy days as a treat we would play in the junk room upstairs. We'd play dress up, store, library....or (my favorite role) Shirley Temple from the littlest princess. (With my pretend fire place while I read books on apple boxes.) And can you even imagine...My favorite books growing up - My granny's and my Mama's. I loved Nurse Cherry Ames, the old Nancy Drew, all of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Box Car Children, anything by Grace Livingston Hill or Louisa May Alcott. (I've often said I was born in the wrong era! Bet you didn't know that about me!) When it was pretty, we played in the barn, picked catawba worms, peas, or muscidimes, went fishing (but you better have Pop's permission), played behind the old chicken coop in our pretend play house that didn't exist. Or when we got older and would go down in the bottom, and cross a fallen tree to our little island in a washed out gully and play war with sling shots and find pieces of old bottles and broken china, because of course our island was the middle of an old dump. A whole different world from the way Arleigh gets to grow up now. A world most kids - and even adults today - have never seen. A world where you couldn't mow grass, fish or even hunt on Sundays. They were about church and family. A world where Grandmothers were always home, and always would stir up something special just for you...just because you were you. A world where you put on a spread every night for supper, because that was your gift to the family. It was a very different world, but a beautiful, much simpler world.

That's our biggest challenge as a family. How do you still let kids be kids? I didn't grow up with Mario Brothers. I grew up with a real brother.  We didn't have those kind of things.  How do you make sure family gets to still be family? How do you make sure that kids spend enough time with family to really understand where they came from and where they are going?

We're all a work in progress, aren't we. Figuring it out day by day. That's my challenge to myself for 2013. More family time, and then even more. We've only got one family, and I want Arleigh to know how important it really is to who you are as a person.  We're lucky, because my family is made up of pretty awesome individuals that would be great influences, in their own way, on Arleigh. I want her to be well rounded because she's made from a village of people. How do you do? Do you let others influence your child, or do you think it's all on you?

No comments :

Post a Comment