“So we’re going to be THAT family?” my 14-year-old asked with a little smirk. “Yes. Yes, we absolutely are,” I smiled.
We were sitting around the dinner table – my three kiddos and I (If you can call them that at ages 24, 19 & 14) at one of the first family dinners we had eaten together in weeks. I was telling them of my new plans for more togetherness: Weekly family dinners and monthly family outings.
My plans didn’t sound that ambitious, but it had become way too easy to use the “everyone’s busy all the time” excuse for the massive amounts of family time we were NOT sharing. And although two of the “kids” are basically grown (or as my neighbor likes to call them, my roommates), we still all live together and we are still a family. And families need time together. Because I said so. And I’m the Boss, applesauce.
Sometimes after a family goes through a major change – death, divorce, illness or loss of any kind, or the adding or subtracting of people – regrouping can take a little while and feel a little weird. Roles and routines shift and family dynamics shift right along with them. Trying to do things the way you’ve always done them doesn’t always work.
After my divorce, I remember grieving just the idea of family. Everything felt so broken. And though it took me a little while, at some point I decided that since I’m the boss around here (You know. Not in an Archie Bunker-type of way – a reference I use since I am apparently 90 – but more like in an I get to call the shots around here-type of way), I get to say how things are going to go. And if I don’t do that, no one else will. Even with mostly grown kids, my family will now go the direction I lead it, because not taking the lead at all is definitely not a direction I want to go in.
I’m working more hours than ever before and so are my two oldest, along with their college classes. The youngest obviously has school, sports, friends, and activities. But constantly saying, “We’re busy,” has become the lazy way of saying it will take some effort to coordinate this togetherness. But I’m willing to put in the effort. Because it’s worth it. Because in some ways, I’m making up for lost family time and crappy family time and family time that was going in the wrong direction.
A few years back, my youngest and I were at a craft show where we stood looking at a hand-painted sign that said ‘Families are Forever.’ She was being her funny and snarky little self when she smiled at me and said, “Ya want that?” And at the time, though we laughed about it, I grimly said, “No thanks”… But the truth is, I do want that. I do want my family to be forever. It’s never too late to be THAT family.
And since I’m the boss, I’m going to make it happen.
WRITTEN BY JULIE
Julie Baun is a Buffalo native, extroverted introvert, and self-proclaimed top-knot abuser. She’s the Marketing Director for a local restaurant and meal prep company and also a single mother to 3 really funny kids and one punk of a dog. She blogs about life and relationships over at www.reallifetruthfully.com.