It took a few years of being in Orlando for me to really appreciate the gift of where I live. Maybe not so much for the city itself because Orlando is a pretty new city. One complaint The Hottness and I have is that, because this town is so new, there’s not a ton of privately owned businesses like restaurants and shops. There are a lot of chains and strip malls and, being such a touristy area, you have the presence of every major retailer that wants to cash in on visitors.
Still, there’s one really great thing about Orlando: sooner or later, EVERYONE comes here. Whether it’s bringing the kids or grandkids to Disney, or it’s a business convention or just to escape the brutal winters up north, we get a lot of visitors. Love it!
Tomorrow, my parents show up for a four day visit. When staying in someone else’s home, two nights is typically my limit. Kinda like the old saying goes: house guests are like fish…they go bad after three days. Having guests, while fun, also is an interruption of life as you know it. This is so NOT the case with my Mom and Dad.
One thing I didn’t understand nor appreciate about my parents until I was an adult was their complete acceptance of other people. Around the holidays, you hear a ton of people talking about weird tension at family functions. Old wounds are re-opened, feelings can get hurt and I think there may also be some guilt and shame that comes with the understanding that none of us are Cleavers or Bradys. What is so “wrong” with us that we feel like there’s no fun in dysfunctional?
It’s well stated on the record that I, too did not grow up in a fictional household like those in Mayberry. Those families are not reality. However, my growing up years were pretty darned close. And now that I’m married and have stepkids in the picture, there’s the possibility things could get weird with the people who raised me. Not so!
I think that so many disappointments with families come because people are disappointed with how we think things should be. Like, Mom didn’t act like Aunt Bea, dad didn’t treat his kids like Bill Cosby. Instead, there’s a lot of hurt that comes with the fragility of the human being.
I absolutely KNOW my folks don’t agree with every aspect of how I/we live our life. Yet, they accept me for who I am, love Marvelyne like their own daughter and are incredibly thoughtful and considerate to my kids. I think this acceptance without desire to change anyone results in a better relationship for everyone, including them. By them being so accepting of who I am without a desire to change me, it gives me the freedom to accept them for who they are, too. Being okay with differences and not trying to turn someone into someone they are not is a key to any healthy relationship.
So, when my folks are here, everything is just easy. They have their life and the way they like to live it. We have ours. Living under the same roof could stress family dynamics and I’m so, so grateful to them for giving me the example of letting everyone be just who they are.