nancy williams

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Maintaining the Tie That Binds

Posted by NancyWilliams on April 15, 2011

One of my favorite quotes about family relationships is attributed to Erma Bombeck:

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.

As I read that quote, memories stir about life in the Williams house as our two sons were growing up. We had our share of laughter and tears, bickering and sharing, ups and downs, independence and partnership, all bathed in love and commitment to each other.

While the boys were growing up, our lives were intertwined through many activities and we made it a point to share meals together, attend church together, travel, and share family playtime to keep us connected. We were blessed to have many opportunities to create precious family memories.

Now they are grown men. One is married and has a little daughter. The other is single and has his own home place. Both are busy with their careers and have cultivated interests and activities that don’t always include me. And I know that’s how it should be.

I’m glad they’re building their own lives, and at the same time I need to accept that while our loves continues to be strong, our family times are not as frequent as they once were.

So we must be more creative and flexible in our plans and our conversations. Text messages and emails are more frequent than phone conversations and times together are more planned than spontaneous. Holiday celebrations aren’t always held on the official holiday date and family meals have changed as new cooks have stepped up with their own recipes.

While some traditions have remained in tack, others have been tucked aside as precious memories so new ones can begin. When we do all get together, the laughter resonates and the love flows. And then, we all go to our own home places. It’s different. It’s new. It’s good.

This mama who loves time with her family must keep in mind that while our lives are moving in different directions and changes are taking place for all of us, we are still bound together through our love for God and the love he has given us for each other. So, I’m learning to enjoy the changes this season of life is bringing for our “little band of characters” as Erma describes.

And I know I’m not alone. I’ve listened as friends and family share their own experiences of changing family patterns and traditions as their children become adults. We exchange tips on creative ways to foster our family relationships and strengthen our ties.

Questions:

• What do you do to help your family stay connected now that your children are grown?

• How do you foster long-distance relationships?

• What about the holidays?

• Do you maintain traditions?

• Are you creating new ones?

• What advice do you have for parents who are just entering this new season in the life of their families?

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