I read an article the other day where a woman was describing the kind of love that she grew up with in her family. In it, she talks candidly about how deep, easy and true their love was for each other. They cherished the time they had together and were vital components of each other’s lives. The author specifically talks about one vacation, where after a long day her entire family ends up on the beach with a bonfire. The kids are in their early twenties at this point and they are telling stories and laughing so hard that they’re crying. Smack in the middle of the laughter-through-tears, the mom raises her glass and says, “Here’s to us! We love each other and we know it!”
I was immediately affected by this story. All I could think is “This is all that I want!” I mean, if we could raise our kids to feel that kind of love, warmth and security and to always want to come home as young adults, I can’t tell you how happy I would be. If we could give our children the gift of knowing a healthy, fun-loving and supportive marriage; a true partnership, they could travel so much further in their own relationships. The moments we spend laughing as a family are so treasured and are far too few. As my kids grow and I see their personalities develop, I want to know them more and more. I can’t imagine anything more satisfying for that mom on the beach… or for me.
The article wasn’t about family life as much as it was about losing a loved one. Six months after the scene on the beach, the son was killed in a plane crash while serving in the military. The family suffered through the details and traditions and then, as hard as it was, pulled themselves back together and moved on in his name. They say that they were able to do that because of the love in which they rooted their family. The love really is enough to get us through anything, big or little or unfathomable.
For whatever reason, it’s been a stressful week but these thoughts about love have helped me end it on a good note. As my days with my kids fill with the joys of early childhood and a good dose of parental frustration – enough to leave me a lump on the couch by 8:30 pm - I will focus on the love, the laughs, and the sweetness of these fleeting moments. I will teach my kids to sink deep into the love from their daddy and me and have that same kind of love for each other. I will make their home a place to be themselves, be happy, feel safe and be loved. And the love will carry us all… through everything.