Have you ever caught yourself wondering, why do I love these people? When it comes to family the answer is both simple and complex. 1) They are family you can’t not love them; and 2) you can pick your friends but you are stuck with your family.
A few months ago, I got an email advertising Barnes and Noble’s online university. One of the book titles, Why Do I Love These People by Po Bronson caught my eye, and I joined the discussion group. After reading some of the stories, I realized the people who compose a family are unique but we all have our obstacles to overcome. Most people in this world couldn’t make it through without the love and support of family.
Since Bronson’s book is RITRO.com’s book for July, I’m not going to discuss the dynamics of the families he chose to feature. I hope you read the book and join the discussion on it in the message boards. What I’d like to share is how reading Why Do I Love These People gave me perspective on my own family dynamics.
First I’d like to start with my engagement. The man who asked me to marry him was raised Catholic. I was raised Lutheran. I have found most people find it hard to blend two different faiths within a family. But neither my fiancé nor I were devoted to the religions we grew up in and were content to be married by a Justice of the Peace. Our families, however, wanted us to have a church wedding. Instead of settling for one of the religions neither one of us felt comfortable in, my fiancé and I went church shopping. We found a Unitarian/Universalist church that made us feel at home and that is where we were married. Now we are raising our girls in the UU church.
Roughly two years into our marriage, my husband and I decided to move across the country away from most of our family. My husband came out to Arizona first to find a job and a place for his wife and daughter to live. This would not have been possible without family support. My husband and his brother were welcomed into my Aunt and Uncle’s home as extended family. They stayed there room and board free until they found jobs and apartments. Then when my husband and I purchased our home, my relatives were here to help move our belongings.
After we purchased a home in Arizona, my in-laws decided to move to Texas to be closer to their grandchildren (a seven hour car trip). Recently my in-laws began looking into moving here. There are no family members in Texas and that seven-hour car trip didn’t occur as often as they would have liked. In this endeavor, my father-in-law spent some three weeks in our house, exploring the current state of Arizona real estate. At first, it was quite pleasant. My father-in-law was here for the Little One’s pre-k graduation and Go-Go’s 8th birthday. He got Go-Go all set up for cowgirl camp with new riding boots and pants. But then he drank himself into a stupor, and our girls wanted to know why Poppo stopped being fun and started sleeping all day.
I tried sympathizing with my husband’s plight. Parents are parents and how do you tell one he has to sober up or get out of your house. But it was hard to see the disappointment on the girls’ faces every time I had to explain to them why Poppo wouldn’t get up. If the move from Texas does happen, how often will my husband and I find ourselves in the situation of explaining Poppo’s absence? It’s easy from some three hundred miles but when he is right next-door, it becomes a different story. After all children are only small for a short time – even shorter if most of the time is spent in a drunken stupor.
So why did we allow this man to stay with us for over three weeks two of them being spent wasted? Because it happens to be real life. The man is family and one does feel compelled to put up with unacceptable behavior from family longer than one would from a stranger or mere acquaintance. After all it is why we love these people.