Family can be complicated…
The bonds that are formed or not formed within family members can also be difficult to navigate. Sometimes there are hurt feelings; sometimes there are severed relationships; always there are humans dealing with humans.
Sadly, no matter how thick the blood, humans do not always treat others as they would want to be treated.
When I found out I was pregnant, not all of my family was supportive. Thankfully, I had friends to help fill the void.
The bonds that were formed with those friends are as strong or stronger as bonds due to “blood”. I would never have made it through that time — or several times since then — without the love and support of my friends.
My extended family is much better than it was during that difficult time, but our bonds have certainly evolved. I think this can happen any time new members of a family are added. People take on different roles; and hopefully more often than not, bonds are strengthened rather than weakened. It really depends how much each person involved wants things to grow, though.
Now our family consists of me and my daughter. I’ve gone through many different phases of loving and hating this. It can really be a lonely path, but it can also be a loving path like no other.
My daughter and I have often vacationed with just the two of us. Recently, when we went to visit friends out of state, my daughter surprised me. It was the last night of our trip when she asked if we could spend the rest of the time just by ourselves. I honestly thought I’d heard her wrong — my daughter is a teenager by the way — but then realized, “no, the bond she and I have cannot be fulfilled by any other,” and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So whatever the “family” looks like, how can one make stronger bonds? I think the easiest answer is just to spend time together.
If sitting around just chatting isn’t comfortable for the relationship right now, make a game of it. Something like a board or video game can prompt conversation and enjoyment for some while just a quick check in at a meal with a silly question like “what made you laugh today” or “what was the best/worst thing about your day” could be the beginning or strengthening of a family bond.
Although families can be difficult, the bond we gain from keeping up with those relationships is well worth the time and effort it takes to keep them going.
– Beth H, NEW BOOK JOY Guest Contributor
How do YOU & your family (or close friends) bond during tough times?
Let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!