Ever since we twentysomethings walked across that stage, received that piece of paper and tossed that cap we’ve been starting to create our own life. We’ve filled our our time with work, old and new friends, new places and dreams. Our days have been swallowed by our routine… wake up, shower, eat, work, eat, work, go home, try to work out or meet up with friends, eat, sleep, wake up, rinse and repeat. But what about our families, where are they supposed to fit in?
Creating a life for yourself is very overwhelming. You need to find a place to live, find a way to pay for it all and make sure you don’t drown in the waters of adulthood. Most likely we all promised ourselves to stay in touch with our friends from college, but I bet that most of us didn’t make that same promise about staying in touch with our families.
I was very lucky to grow up in a house hold with two parents, a dog, 3 siblings, and for a time my grandmother. I know not every family lives up to the American dream of a white picket fence with laughing, healthy 2.5 children, but even if you didn’t have that I bet you had a family that loved you even if that family wasn’t blood.
I don’t know your family story, so I’ll give you a glimpse into mine. I’ve the oldest of four; Nate, Kelly and Kaleigh. Nate and Kelly have their birthdays in August so they’ll be turning 20 and 16 respectfully. That’s about 4 years between each child and 14 years between me and the youngest. (I turned 24 a couple weeks ago on June 30th!) If you didn’t catch it, that means my poor parents had to shuttle us to 4 different schools and balance 4 different schedules.
Now things are kind of slowing down at the Robinson household. I’m fully moved out of the house and live in New York, 4 hours away from home. Nate is going to college in Boston, he’ll be a sophomore in the fall. Kelly is currently taking her finals this week for her sophomore year in High School, so she will start looking at colleges in the fall. Kaleigh, she’s making the big move from 4th grade to 5th grade! …Or at least I’m pretty sure… It gets harder to keep track now that I’m out of the house. My dad works and my mom is home with the dog.
Soon enough poor momma hen and pappa rooster will be alone in the nest without any of her chicks. I know, you’d think after 24 years my parents would want a break and cherish a quiet house, but trust me they love the chaos! I really wouldn’t be surprised if my mom started a neighborhood day care just to keep the house some lively hood.
As each of us head out to create a life for ourselves we get closer and closer to what I’m going to call, THE DANGER ZONE! The danger zone is when you get to that period where children are starting to create a new life, with the risk of losing what they had. Family sometimes can be taken for granted. Family is family because they’ve always been there for you to fall back on. They’re not supposed to go anywhere, but you could be the one that leaves.
I think it is very crucial to keep in touch with our family. Just like we start creating good habits to become the adult we want to be, we should create the habit of calling home regularly. When I say regularly I mean more than the big holidays and birthdays.
For me, calling my mom was always the easiest because she’s my mom! When I’m in a bad mood or need advice she’s the one I call. I think that’s a reflex a lot of people have. Dad is the guy to call with the hard ball questions of adulthood. But what about calling when you don’t need something? Have you called home just to see how they’re doing?
I’ve made it one of my resolutions to text my siblings each week. Its small, but its the start of creating a good habit. Creating a communication line between us. My siblings and I have talked before about wanting to be those cool aunts and uncles who come over and the cousins all get to play each other. When we have created that new life for ourselves with our own families, we want to unite all of them into one big family.
I’m sorry to say this but there are too many people who have regrets about not doing or saying enough before a loved one is lost. Maybe the family thing isn’t for you, but remember you only get one chance and one day that chance might be gone.
I know when I go home for my vacation and birthday I will make sure each member of my family knows I appreciate him/her by giving each of them a little bit of my time. Whether its going to the movies, playing basketball or as cheesy as going to play mini golf (mini gulf isn’t cheesy by the way, its awesome) I’ll give each of them an outing as my way to show them I can and want to stay in touch.
How do you stay in touch with your family?