I wanted to share a little bit about what’s been going on in my life and the lesson that keeps repeating itself over and over again in my life about how we’re better together. Hopefully you’ll hear something that may help you and your family be a little better together, too.
We’ve had a lot of big transitions in our family over the past few months. We moved to a wonderful little beach community that is absolutely perfect for us. I’m now able to walk to the water each morning, listening to the sea birds and enjoying the blue Florida skies. I’m in heaven. And we finally have our community of like-minded people nearby.
Even though it’s a lot of good, there’s still been stress. The move was very sudden. We found our perfect space and moved a week later. #whirlwind We moved within the same county, but we’re in a completely new area for us. We need to figure out new places to shop and how we want to create our days. It’s given us lots of opportunities to come together as a family and decide what we want for us inside and outside our home. It’s been interesting to see how all of our needs intersect and we find our way together. There have been so many lessons about listening to everyone’s needs lately and finding a way to stay connected through all the changes. It’s been good and sometimes hard, but so rewarding as we co-create our space together.
We were almost feeling settled, close to unpacking the last few boxes, when I learned that my dad needed to have open heart surgery. I jumped on a plane to Indianapolis and made plans for my family to follow me the 1000+ miles in a few days. They arrived 5 days after I had arrived and my dad was still in the hospital. When they released him right before Thanksgiving (11 days post-surgery), we were really happy that he was finally getting better and we’d get to spend Thanksgiving with them this year, which is rare since we live so far away.
My younger brother was coming in from St. Louis to be with us in Indianapolis the day after Thanksgiving, so we had planned to have our family’s holiday meal together then. However, before my brother had even arrived, it was clear that my dad was having symptoms on the list of things that say you need to go back to the hospital. My sweet husband drove my parents to the hospital and I stayed at my parents’ house to start working on baking the pies with my brother and oldest son.
My dad was admitted to the hospital that night and it ended up creating a lot of chaos in our family. We weren’t sure what was happening with him, when he would be home, what we should do about making the food, and when we should eat. My youngest brother was having a very hard time and he decided there was no point in helping to make the food since my dad wasn’t going to be home. (I should mention that he’s an adult, just a few years younger than me.)
It was a stressful moment within another stressful moment.
The food needed to be prepared. As the oldest in my family, I definitely felt the responsibility of what needed to be done. And yet, I was cooking in a strange kitchen with things that weren’t mine. I like to cook, but it’s hard to cook in someone else’s kitchen.
Time marched on and it was now 3pm. The turkey had finished cooking ahead of schedule and nothing else had been started.
Well, except the pies. They were done. (The pies had been finished around 5am after two small oven fires and realizing that the smoke detectors in the house weren’t working…This was anything but a dull Thanksgiving!)
My youngest brother wasn’t helping and he had really made a huge difference for me the night before with the pies because he knows where to find things in the kitchen (and what to do in the event of an oven fire). My St. Louis brother had taken my mom to the hospital to visit my dad. My husband was resting because he wasn’t feeling well. I just wanted to forget the whole thing and go get take-out.
The night before, when I’d hit another difficult place because I was really feeling the weight of everything, I expressed a little of what I was feeling to my boys. They’re almost 15 and almost 20 now and I knew they were definitely feeling it all, too. My oldest said, “I’d happy to help with anything. Just ask.” This was one of those golden parenting moments. I’m pretty sure I heard some angels singing over his shoulder.
Brilliant words, no?
I had said the same thing to him numerous times over the past several years. He was listening and learning and now he was applying it to our relationship. #win
As I stood staring at the cooked turkey and the raw potatoes sitting in the bag on the counter, I remembered that conversation with my oldest son and went to get him for that help he had offered.
Next thing I knew, both my boys were in the kitchen singing Queen’s Greatest Hits with me as we peeled potatoes and made the gluten free dressing. When my husband woke up, he joined the party. We were all there together, singing and laughing.
It was a moment I felt deep gratitude. I have cultivated my relationship with both my boys so that we can be open and honest with each other about our needs. We can talk about what’s working and what’s not working. And we can help each other because it’s what we do. We were together, doing what needed to be done. But it was fun and comfortable. We were all just happy to be together, even if the circumstances that brought us there were less than ideal.
Eventually my brother came down and started helping. Maybe it was irresistible for him and he couldn’t help joining in because we were having so much fun together. Or maybe he was just hungry and impatient that the food wasn’t ready. It doesn’t really matter. The most important thing was that we were able to communicate and support each other and get our goal accomplished. I also think it made the food extra delicious.
It really brought home that whatever else is happening, whatever other stresses there are, whatever is happening that we can’t control, we can keep coming back to our relationship and our connection with each other. We can be fully present with each other and find our way through anything- together.
My dad is still in the hospital. We’re all still in Indiana for now to help. And we’re all continuing to learn and grow together.
I hope that you’re having a peaceful holiday so far. And if you’re not, I hope that you’re finding a way to learn and grow together, too.
If you’d like a little extra support this holiday season, I’ve got some great offerings happening this week. With any purchase (anything. seriously), I’m offering access to group support calls. You can ask me anything about your relationships, your parenting, your own healing process and stuck places, and I’ll answer them. If you don’t need anything, consider making a donation and we’ll include you in those calls. Yes, they’ll be recorded and you can send in your questions if you have them. I think you’ll learn something from everyone’s questions, so plan to join us live or with the recording even if you don’t have a specific question. We’ll add you to a special course where you can vote for call times that work for you!
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