Sunday, January 31, 2010

all that matters.

everybody can rest's true....this family has just celebrated another christmas with family.  after 3 tries since mid december, we have finally managed to get together!  before valentines day woohoo!  and grace was able to continue her birthday celebration with her grandparents!

it is a blessing to have grandparents.  they add so much to our lives and our kids' so many ways.  numero uno...they are the parents of the parents.  the kids get to see the love and respect shared between a parent and their grandparents.  if the kids are blessed even more, they witness a mutual respect between  their grandparents and the mom or dad who isn't the son or daughter.

wow. do we all hear stories.  some are heartbreaking. some so magical......of good times shared. the ones who lose out the most....when in-laws and out-laws and grandparents and kids and .....the whole circus......just don't play nicely's the kids! and the grandparents!  sad.  sad. sad.

who wins?  not the grandparents.  not the kids.  not the parents.  sometimes we hear of these kooky stories and lots of stories.  those stories make me sad. i love my husband and i love his family.  biff loves me and he loves my family. aahhhhhh! sweet!  one big happy family!

and we all have our kooky ways.  we all recognize that.  nobody's perfect.  we all know that.  i just feel like biff's parent's are pretty important in my life.....they are the reason he is who he is.  they play kind of a big role in his life.  i'm not married to them....they are not my parents.  but, wow!  i'm blessed to have people so sharing and supportive and loving in my life.  i'm blessed to have their lives be a part of our children's lives.

biff was so loving to my mom.  and wow!....she loved him so much.  she made him laugh....he made her laugh.......and the bad news is....they both laughed at my expense!  she had so much respect for him...she knew how happy he made me...she knew how much we love each other.  she really cared about biff.  she loved biff.

when biff asked my mom if he could marry me, she said, "if you think you can handle her!".....without missing a beat.  and 17 or so years later, he still says,"hah? if i think i can handle you?".....and we laugh.

biff's mom and dad  and my mom all played nicely together.   a regular mutual admiration society!   families respecting families.  not judging, just appreciating.  oh, it's true.  and the best part of all, biff and i came to this place knowing that neither one of us is perfect....  and neither one of our families could possibly be perfect. we know because we both represent the best of imperfections from both families. oh, and how boring that would be if we had no imperfections to share!  it would be like a patchwork quilt that's machine made...... rather than stitched bit by bit, by hand.....with different thread, different stitches and loving hands who put the time and effort and love into each bit of
                                                      of a handmade creation.  isn't that what we have to teach our children?    
                                                      everyone has flaws and imperfection to one person may be a delight on the next ......everyone wears there imperfections differently.  life is better when we can all "a.y.t.c.", as our dean of students in college reminded us...."adapt yourself to circumstances".....or roll with it and do the best with what we have.  everyone has to work it out the best way they no how....our kids are watching!

some husbands and wives do have a difficult time with relatives, i know, stuff happens and life happens and people live and think differently.  most of us can respect that without having to judge that....but stuff happens and life happens and people happen.  it's just too bad for the whole family if it severs the whole big ways or subtle ways.....the stress makes it unpleasant for all.....and the kids are the first to feel it.  the kids are the ones who have the most to teach us.

the one thing that i feel.....deep, deep that grandparents are a part of who our children are.  they certainly share the same gene pool. since biff and i have had children, we have always noticed how people on both sides of the family see a bit of their own family in the babies, as toddlers, as teens.....

of course.  we have always noticed the bits and pieces that each child has...from each family....that makes sense...especially since they are related.  sometimes, an in law will say,"no...this baby looks like MY father...just the spitting image of MY father!"  sure, that's possible but there might be just a teeny tiny miniscule tid bit like uncle whiffenpoof. especially because WE made the baby....i couldn't do it alone, could i? why do people act like that's a surprise.  it's a kid made from 2 people that come from 2 other people.  that's how it works.

i think it's beautiful to see the little bits of  family in each of our kids.  sometimes, we're not so sure that it's the best trait from either side!  and in our case, the biggest truth of all is that we have irish descent and german what matters most to both of us....not the hair, the eyes, the legs, the brains........oh dear lord, none of's that we have stubborn kids.  oh yes!  and guess what....stubborn comes from both sides of the family!  and stubborn comes from a long line of irish stubborn and a long line of german stubborn.  we just roll our eyes at each other when we see the rath of stubborn we incur.

thankfully, in our marriage, we try not to allow the stubborn in each other to get in the way of the US in US.  thankfully, in our marriage, we can look at each other and each other's families and not try to assign blame to one side or the other.  that's just not fair...especially from my point of view.  my side might be an easier target.  thank God that's our biggest challenge...deciding whose family is more bizarre.
actually, it seems that both sides of the family that are some very wonderful ways.  and we share that with our kids.  why should we hide the truth!  it's better to learn the truth now....while they're young!   no surprises later on. there are some benefits to be had when a kooky family is in your genes.  it's fun. and people love each other just cuz they're family.  we share in the joys and the sorrows.  we share in the hardships and the gravy trains.  it's all out in the open...honesty is the best policy. we care. for better or worse. we are family.

grandparents are what memories are made of.  grandparents love the children like no one else.  grandparents see their own children in their grandchildren.  who could love these kids who we love so much? our own parents.....

i have a lot of grandparent memories. my mom loved her own mom and my dad's mom.  that was great for me to be a part of that.  i never saw them have an uneasy moment together.  i feel like my mom showed me by your husband's family....that's where he came from.

and the relationship i have with biff's parents is never anything i would question......they are HIS parents...and that's that.  how disrespectful is it for me to not respect HIS parents....what does that say to him?  maybe i just learned from my mom or maybe biff's parents just make it easy.

i also think it's important for biff to have his some time with his mom and dad...just so they can have their son alone, themselves...once in awhile......just him.  time with him.  i'm just glad that he's shared them with me.  i'm just glad that his family welcomed me......with pecadilloes and all.

that is so important in so many ways.  just the history they are able to share matters. mostly though, i think that it's in the moments.....those little moments.  really, life's little moments are some of the most outstanding.  memories of moments with grandparents are special and so different from any other relationship.  they just their grandchildren....even the imperfections. 

grandparents help the kids see their lives in a bigger picture. generations....different styles...different ages...different strengths......they have  great stories to share....and really learn about their mom or dad as a daughter or son....appreciate the difference in age and learn from the grandparents....grandparents have a different perspective to share.

different perspectives are good for everyone.  how would i feel if i was biff's mom...or dad?  how would i feel if i were his sister....relationships are to be promoted.  it just seems to be win-win for all. everybody benefits.

i feel blessed that my kids had my mom in their lives until about a year and a half ago.  the relationship that grace and t.j. had with my mom was like no other in the world.  she shared so much with them.  even her arthritis...they saw her plow through life, determined and strong....not complaining....with a sense of humor...with great style....and donuts.....and ice cream....and waking up at our house...and waking up at gramma's.  to them, the fact that she lived in an apartment was exciting.  all of her nooks and crannies were there to explore.  she gave comfort and unconditional love.  her apartment building was filled with many friends and friendly faces.  until the time that grace and t.j. were about five and six, they used to ring the doorbell of my mom's 90 year old neighbor to go play hide and seek with them in the lobby.....and she always did!  with a twinkle in her eyes!  she nicknamed them "the darlings."

biff's parents share so much.  our kids have some very special family memories.  they have great appreciation for the many ways that the share their love.  they have traveled with their grandparents and shared family events at home and out of town.  memories.  dinners.  breakfasts. casual. dressed up.  hanging around. at the beach. at the lake. ice skating. hiking. swimming. talking.  listening.

i think kids and grandparents both benefit.  both gain more compassion and empathy and understanding of each other and the world in which  they live.  they can respect each other.  and, we all know, they have lots in common! i think the world would be a better place if more kids had more exposure to grandparents in everyday life and vice versa.

i feel bad for kids that get jipped of grandparents.  to me, it's like having a beautiful, colorful,patchwork quilt that has been passed down through the gets a big tear in the middle.....and it shreds a little more...and a little more.  it's still warm and cozy, it still has all of the loving, caring artwork and delicate sewing but that rip frays more and more.  unless, it's attended to.  unless, someone takes responsibility and helps to have the rip repaired.  at the center of the quilt, it's a very important piece.  it's not scraps.  it is the center.  the beginning.  it's how all of the other pieces connect.  and the connection, not always perfect, is all that matters.

**********************************************************************************biff's dad made that grandfather clock for he's making one for t.j........he made that beautiful box of blocks...we've had hours and hours of play with those blocks, made with love.  i'm grateful to have family where it's not about the gifts's not about the material's the biggest gift of all to share time and love.    and that's just my opinion....

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