Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's a family thing...

So, a week ago yesterday, Dave and Keri were married.  For those of you that don’t know, Dave is my brother, and Keri is Danielle’s sister – Yes, my brother married my wife’s sister.  I love them both dearly, and I think they will have a wonderful life together, and I couldn’t be happier for them.  The wedding was beautiful, and, if you know the two of them, it fit them perfectly.  They have been in London for the past week, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them when they get home (they’ll be home late tonight, but after a wedding and a trip to London, I’m sure they’ll need some time to decompress, so it’ll be a couple of days before I get to see them most likely).
With all of the excitement of the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about families and family dynamics.  We had family in town for the wedding from as far away as Texas and Washington D.C.  It’s interesting to see my parents with their brothers and sisters.  It seems odd, but I have aunts and uncles living maybe 2 miles from us that we see once or twice a year at most.  I really do love my family, but there is a certain amount of awkwardness there.  I’m sure anyone reading this understands, but I’m going to explain anyway…
You have no choice on what situation you are born into.  Your family is your family, no matter what.  There is somehow a certain connection that you share, simply because a certain percentage of your genetic material is the same.  This can put you in some strange situations.  You take a group of people who see each other once or twice a year, if that, they are invariably heading down several different paths in life.  They think differently, have different goals, hopes and desires, they have completely different, and sometimes opposing, paradigms of the world.  Now, you put all of those people in a room together, and expect that, since they are family, they have wonderful relationships with each other.  Often they don’t.  It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that they don’t have a basis for that. 
Let me give an example.  Take my relationship with my Aunt Deloris.  Now, I love Deloris.  She is a wonderfully kind, generous, and loving person.  I know that there are things that Deloris and I disagree about, but that isn’t something that bothers me.  She is the kind of person where (and I know this from experience) you can have an open, honest discussion with her, and at the end not come to the same conclusions, and leave feeling like you were heard and understood, and not just disregarded, and that that is really what mattered.  Sadly, I rarely see Deloris.  She lives just a few miles away, but we don’t ever just drop in to see one another or anything.  So, when I do see Deloris, I really don’t know what is going on in her life, and she doesn’t know what’s going on in mine.  This means that just about any conversation I will have with her is going to be fairly superficial.  We both know this, but there is still something inside me at least (I can’t really talk for others here, but I assume I’m not the only one) that says “Hey, we’re family, we should automatically have a relationship that moves beyond the superficial.”  Of course, that’s not the way it is.  I don’t blame anyone, that’s just part of life.  We busy ourselves with our daily lives.  I’m sure we’ll see each other in a few months, we’ll give each other little sound bite updates on how our lives are going, and we’ll be content with that. 
This is what I’m saying is awkward.  It’s a kind of dichotomy – We’re family, we should know each other well, I hardly ever see you, so I hardly know who you are.  As I said, this is life, oh well.
I do have family that I am extremely close to.  Dave and Keri, for instance.  Their apartment is about 3 blocks from our house.  Before they were married, they were pretty much Danielle and my best friends.  I’m sure that bond will just strengthen.  Danielle has 3 more sisters, two of which live within easy walking distance of our house.  Candy lives just up the hill from us, and we generally get to see her a couple times a week.  Dana lives the opposite direction, with her husband Ryan and their two beautiful children, Lilly and Ben.  Lacey, and her husband Jared and their adorable daughter Zoey live on the other side of town, but we still get to spend time with them fairly frequently.  Then there is my cousin James, his wife Tanya, and their gorgeous little girl Aletheia.  James has, for a long time, been almost as much a brother to me as Dave has.  There is a certain bond I have with all of these people that, when I think of family, this is who I think of.  They interact with me on a daily basis, and truly affect my life. 
Now, I don’t know what the future has in store for all of us.  However, when I imagine my children growing up, I can’t help but picture them growing up around all of this family.  I see my children being excited to go play with their cousins.  I picture them following Lilly around, thinking she’s the coolest person to ever walk the earth (she’s the oldest by a couple of years – she’s going to have a whole tribe of cousins she gets to boss around).  I see them trying to wrestle Uncle Jared, learning to fish with Uncle Ryan, or being read to by Uncle Dave.  I see them coming up with little plays to perform in front of their aunts, and asking their aunts to sing to them.
My family may not be perfect, but then, no one’s is.  Just like any relationship, there are ups and downs.  But, I guess, there’s one thing I’m really trying to say through all of this.   I love my family, and I thank God for blessing me so richly with these relationships.  I look forward to the day when my children get to be blessed by these same people.
Oh, and Deloris, if you are reading this…   I hope you don’t mind me using you as an example.  I do love you.


  1. boom shakalaka bucketlist check, mentioned on blog post. and yes I would wrestle all children... and win.

  2. knowing that Danielle has such a caring and godly husband bring me great comfort. We're all so lucky to have you in our family and I can't wait to see what God has in store for you both! For some reason the part about your kids following Lily around made me cry... I think I can just picture it and it makes me happy :)

    Love you kids!

  3. Knowing that Danielle has such a caring and godly husband brings me great comfort.*

  4. Oh my twice in law brother, making me tear-up! You both are amazing friends to us too. Can't imagine life without each of the people you mentioned. ...the part about Lil made me cry too... (and the kids putting on plays)... She is gonna be an amazingly cool bossy cousin. :) Can't wait to create amazing memories with you.

  5. good blog son. But just to let you know, unless I am dead I plan on teaching my grandkids to fish or do whatever they want out of a granddad. And I'm not sure superficial relationships are a negative, they are neccessary also, you are lucky in life to have more than 8 or 10 "deep" relationships and few have the time or energy needed to develop and maintain such relationships. We are very much looking forward to watching and being part of this clan growing together.

  6. Jeremiah and Danielle, God bless you on your decision to adopt. I'm Rochelle Hopp's cousin Michelle Wheland. My husband Dave and I adopted an infant 11 years ago. Our journey was quite long, but God taught us so much through it. I would love to share more about what we went through with you sometime. You can get my phone number through Rochelle or through her mom, Michelle Hopp. I'm so excited for you, and will pray for you and for your special child that God will select just for your family. Much love, Michelle Wheland