I get my hopes up. I want to believe things people tell me. So when the pastor yesterday talked about our church, a group of people following Jesus, becoming more and more like "A Family of Families." It made me cry. I thought about all of the times in the last 4 years since our first child was born that I desperately wanted to live near my family. I need help and the closest family we have is my in-laws who are in and out of town because they are RVers.
So I started imagining what it would look like to be in A Family of Families.
I'd like to be the 50's Housewife of the Family in the kitchen baking and serving up yummy meals surrounded by perfectly dressed children and a clean house. I'd like my calendar to be full... 4 of 7 nights with guests or being a guest works for me. I'd like to help if someone is sick or just had a baby. And yes, I'd wear an apron to do it all.
Then reality set in.
What if it's like in-laws?
Please don't misunderstand, my in-laws are amazing people. I sincerely love them. And yet, they're still in-laws. For example, their version of helping isn't necessarily what I consider helpful. So, instead of Holidays being relaxing times of rejoicing together, I have panic attacks... really, I had a panic attack last fall because my husband invited his parents for dinner last minute without consulting me. It took me an hour to come inside and I had to go to the store to buy bread to go with the cold dinner because I couldn't think of a better excuse for being unable to just share a meal.
That's the problem. I desperately want to be in A Family of Families, but it takes a while before in-laws are as close as your own parents and siblings. I'm sure everyone's experience is different, but as for me, I don't know how to really let people in. I don't mind if folks see me with my make-up on and a smile (sometimes fake, mostly real) on Sunday mornings. But if someone stops by on Monday afternoon (like today), I might have a problem if they were to see me lash out at my kids for not napping or that I'm completely overwhelmed with my life and that I'm running on "E".
My Family might see all of me
instead of the version of me I allow them to see.
Instead of getting to be the Betty Crocker of the Family, it's more likely that I'd be the crazy aunt. You know me, Auntie Momma Drama, the volatile one who drinks too much. I'm much more likely to blubber on the phone saying, "I've got groceries to put away, a dirty house, laundry out my ears, an obligation tonight, 4 children who won't nap, another obligation tomorrow morning, out-of-town guests early tomorrow afternoon, and the recession didn't end last June... HELP." (BTW, "help" is pronounced "heh-yulp"... it's a two syllable word where I come from.)
What scares me, too, is that I can't control the help My Family of Families would offer. I'm sure someone would offer to come do my laundry while I manage my children, but then they'd see my underwear. I'm sure someone else would offer to take my kids, but my kids might jump on the couches or scream about a toy... my children are loud. Maybe someone would offer to bring dinner so I have one less thing. And then, the worst could happen: someone might just say, "Stop blogging and get busy." No matter what they offer, I hate asking for help... remember, I don't want anyone to see all of me.
I wish I knew what to expect so I could either sign up and get my hands dirty - or - run for the hills. But I have no bloomin' idea what A Family of Families looks like in practice.
Then again, I'm hopeful... maybe The Family won't always be in-laws.
I'd love some feedback: Are you in A Family of Families? Who are you in that Family? (Remember, I'm the crazy aunt.) Are you looking for a Family? Or are you as apprehensive as I am?