i {heart} family (soLs)

Crazy family love

I’m enamored by the way families can be built. It is not by blood or convenience or luck. Rather, family is sculpted. Created. Simmered. As someone who spent years waiting for children, wondering if my immediate family would be two (Andy and me), family is a miracle.
Some days I’m surprised the entire concept even works. Personally, it involves six people living under the same roof, going about our days, scurrying here and there, meeting for dinner and books and games and then going out into the world again and again. Not to mention personality. In spades. It is remarkable we get along most of the time. I understand how families disintegrate.
It takes a lot to keep them together. And yet, at the same time, it is rather simple. Love them more than yourself.
Like most good things in life, family is not a destination, but a journey. It is organic, constantly shifting, growing around each member, changing across time. The way I love them changes. Six years ago, loving Sam involved bottles and diapers and warm baths in the kitchen sink. Now it is dancing with him in the dining room, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and leaving him notes in his lunch box. Love for the girls changes too. Then it was loving them through fits and unkind words, washing their hair, and wrapping strong arms around boundaries that were constantly pushed. Now it is snuggled under a quilt reading a book, making cupcakes with extra sprinkles, and throwing a softball in the backyard. A few months ago love for Karianne was taking her to practice and making sure there was food she would enjoy. Now it’s sharing the couch and watching a favorite movie, laughing together late at night, and random texts here and there. Long ago with Andy it was talking on the phone when we were hours apart, dinner out, and relaxing at the table long after our plates were cleared. Now it is quick glimpses over kids’ heads as we prepare dinner together, making lunches at 11:00 pm, and quick phone calls to make sure evening plans are accomplished. Love is constant. The way we show it changes.
This is the beauty of family. Comfortable love shown in unexpected, ever-changing ways.
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13 Comments »

  1. You have captured family in a very personal and real way. I am in the empty nest stage in which family is caught at holidays and on school breaks. And the way my husband and I love each other is very different, no longer conflicted about rules and regulations, a lot freer to just be. Family is definitely sculpted. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love how you explored how your relationship with each family member has changed over time! A really neat way to reflect on how families stay close while evolving together and separately. The picture is the perfect expression of the emotions in your post too!

  3. I love the line, “Love is constant. The way we show it changes.” What a great way to describe the ever-evolving relationships and dynamics among family. And I love the picture, too!

  4. Love is shown through so many actions. Your love for your family shines through every word you write about them, today and yesterday and tomorrow. It gives me a warm and happy feeling. You and yours are blessed.

  5. I love this post overall, especially a couple of the lines, such as, “And yet, at the same time, it is rather simple. Love them more than yourself,” and “Love is constant. The way we show it changes.”

    Someone was recently posting about Ralph Fletcher talking about the power of notebooks. It seems like your posts lately have been excellent examples of that. You have mentioned that you have been exploring about your daughters a lot in your notebooks and even if your posts aren't the same as what you have written, I would imagine that all of that thinking and considering is impacting what you do write about being a mom and about family.

  6. Your words created a lovely portrait of family and its deeper meaning. I love how you talked about it being sculpted/created. I imagined a block structure, sometimes it falls apart a bit, but can always be built back up. It is amazing that it works, but I think one of your last lines is so true, as many pointed out. “Love is constant. The way we show it changes.”

  7. I love all those arms embracing each other in that picture! That is crazy family love right there. Family is a miracle, but the love you pour into making your family work (more than work–flourish maybe? thrive? sparkle?) is much more intentional than a miracle.

  8. What a beautiful way to show all the bits and pieces that make up family, all the ways we show and share our love for those we love. Thanks, Ruth!

  9. I love the line “love them more than yourself”, Ruth. And the small bits and pieces of family love, including peanut butter sandwiches! are exactly what makes the family cherish each other. What a lot of love shines through here in your words. Thanks for this.

  10. Love ithem more than yourself. So true. I like how you showed how that love has grown and changed. Love is adapting to what they each need.