I grew up in a big family. There are six of us kids and two crazy funny parents strong enough to hold themselves and us together. Mom and dad fought plenty, but not against each other. They fought together for the life they wanted. Today when I look at the two of them together I see two people who have only loved each other more through years of moving around, financially scraping by, staying up all night to wait for rebellious teens to sneak back in the house, breaking up fights over God knows what and feeding a bunch of ravenous kids.
I grew up in a household that did things as a family like eat dinner at the table (elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, and don’t even think about eating before grace). I remember fighting over my brother cheating at Monopoly and laughing until I cried when my sister convinced him to eat an entire plate of “chocolate” cookies which were actually peanut butter cookies burnt to a crisp. We all complained about family time at some point when we wanted to do something with friends. We all supposedly “hated” each other at some point too. I’m sure everyone has memories like this. They make us who we are. They make us smile if we remember to think about them.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned from my family is, though we may not always agree we always have each other’s back. We may feel envy, anger…bitterness. You name it! However, when someone falls apart or hits gravel we swoop in to protect our own.
I’ve had people tell me I expect too much of others. Maybe I do. Maybe I expect the type of loyalty and kinship I learned from my family. But why shouldn’t we expect more from each other? Why shouldn’t we treat others how we want to be treated? So what is the family/friend code? Well in my book it covers at least a few basics!
- Face stuff together
- Give each other what you can
- Make time for each other
- Offer each other freedom and space to grow
- Accept each other as you grow!
- Communicate …arguing is still communicating! Don’t be afraid to shout a little in a good spirited disagreement!
- Keep it real an honest with each other. It’s too much work not to and whether you’d like to believe it or not most people see right through you even when you think they don’t.
- Cheer each other on! Come off it and just be happy for each other. We all have our own walk in life!
- Honor each other – Making someone smile may not change the world but it may change one person’s world. The world is harsh enough on its own right?!
- Stick around – I don’t often lose friends or family (yep family too). It’s more like life just gradually reveals who is real and who is but a wispy vapor. Remember that next time you decide to flake out on someone because it cramps your style. I’ve done it and I always regret it in the long run.
I’m thankful for my family and good friends. You know who you are. I’m grateful you continue to teach me how to be a better person. I’m grateful when you stick around. So here is to dysfunctional families and friends who earn their spot at the table! That’s my chico gospel! Happy Friday!