Saturday, 4 May 2013

:: loving family ::

I'm proud to be known as the daughter and sister of each person in my family. Each of them, quite different from one another, really do inspire me in how they live life - whether it be through a conscious and deep faith, amazing creativity in design, crafts and concocting delicious meals, loyalty and commitment to people and jobs in very hurtful situations, and true generosity of their hearts and possessions to share and give to others. Of course, none of us are anywhere near being saints. We get grumpy with each other and too often let hurtful words spill over in frustration, but nonetheless it's a great family to be a part of.

For the first time in my life, other than living in the same house, I'm living within 5, 30 and 50 minutes away from each of them and their own little families. My parents live the closest, and they have gone out of their way several times in the last months of us living here to help in different moments. Whether it be delivering some paracetamol for a headache when we had none left in the cupboard, or arriving around armed with a supermarket bag full of yoghurts, jellies, icecream and iceblocks in a bid to help a feverish little girl get some form of liquids in - over and over I've been so thankful and admittedly a little nervous with the thought "Do they really want to be doing this or am I just a nuisance that they feel obligated to help?!" They assure us they wouldn't offer if they didn't want to, so I'm learning to trust their word and in their goodness of heart. At the same time it nudges me to look out for others I could help.

Yesterday I handed dad a washing basket full of wet washing for him to take back and put through their dryer, as we begin to experience the dampness of the Auckland "winter" where clothes smell musty before they eventually dry. He returned that evening with each item warm, dry and folded. Considering the mountain of dry washing that had already occupied a good portion of our lounge floor for the past several days, it was great to be able to put these additional items straight away into cupboards and drawers!

Over the last four years our immediate family has grown to include several others - big and little. Each of the four of us 'kids' have married within these past four years, and have had, between us, four little people (with one more on the least one that is known of at this point! ;o) ). We now enjoy the cultural flavours and languages of France, Switzerland, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the mix, which makes life all the more fun, richer and the world a bigger (and in other ways smaller!) place to be. Most of our family celebrations now include the parents or siblings of our newer brothers/sisters, who have their own family members spread all over the world and aren't able to be together very often. We're a pretty diverse group when we're all together - extroverts and introverts with many other quirks and specialities :o) In fact, I have often thought of each of the others with all their different personalities, talents, achievements and life choices and felt a bit inadequate in comparison. I admire each of them.

And, as some of us now have our own families, I think I could safely say that my sister, brother and I owe a significiant part of the inspiration of our parenting goals for our own children to these two below. Among other things, we may have uttered unrepeatable things to them behind their backs at certain moments while we were growing up and not appreciating their discipline, but they didn't luck out in having 'good' kids, as some like to suggest. They put a lot of effort and time into raising us and, even if we still drive them mad at times, I think they can be proud of themselves and the example they have been and are to us as parents and people. Faithful, consistent and generous.

So, here's a little picture of my family. Imperfect but beautiful and a great group of people to belong to. And it's a gift to once again live closer and communicate face-to-face, rather than over Skype :o)