Five years today. That’s how long we’ve been a family. Time to mix up a batch of my pasta salad and hit the beach! (In our case, it will be Lake Michigan — we spent the weekend at Craig’s parents’ cabin in East Jordan.)
Looking back over pictures from the first months together, I realize just how much the kids have grown. The “baby” has lost her chubby knees; our son bears only the slightest resemblance to the wild-eyed child who used to camp out under tables. They are taller, yes — but they are also more confident of their place in this world. The questions they ask are more thoughtful, grown up. They can be rough on each other in their play — but they are also more empathetic if a family member is in distress.
Memorial Day is a time to recall those people who have touched our lives, usually for the better. It’s a good time to honor those who have made sacrifices on our behalf (not only soldiers, but teachers and parents and friends as well), and to forgive those whose actions have caused us pain.
Ironically, some people fit equally well into both categories. When you love someone, you leave yourself vulnerable to an infinite variety of thoughtless (and even pre-meditated) hurts. Watching my kids play with one another, I am reminded that God gives us family to help us grow in perfection.
If “perfection” is the bountiful garden you survey with satisfaction out your patio door, family is the pruners, the feeders, the nurturers, the weeders … All are needed, not all are pleasant. But they are an intrinsic part of who we are — part of our memories, our history, our blood. We would not be who we are — for better or worse, or both — without them.
Is there someone you need to call today?