Family Ties (from 2014)

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

In a few minutes, I’m going to head home from Parent-Teacher conferences to have chili made by my daughter Megan, who is home from Columbus for a couple days. We’ll sit at the table eating and chatting, and if Bethany has her way, we will play a card game called “Gloom” that we’ve planned to play but never made time to. It will be one of those Vonnegut “If this isn’t good, what Is?” moments.

My kids are high on the list of things I’m thankful for–and I’m not saying that because it’s a required part of the “Mother Job Description.” What I’m grateful for isn’t that I managed to follow the step-by-step directions to reproduce. Truth: Growing up, I’d never seen myself as the mother type. Even in my mid-20s, I was willing to indefinitely delay the becoming a mommy stage of adulthood. At best, I was an adequate mother who managed to mitigate at least some of my worst mothering mistakes by having terrifically talented, complex, interesting kids…which also compounded most of the challenges of parenting.

Anyway, we’re going to gather at a table and have chili that Megan made, and enjoy a few moments of family time–something that’s incredibly rare since my oldest two have scattered. Chris is nowhere near, but there are many times that I go on the Meatloaf philosophy: Two out of Three ain’t Bad.

The absolute best part of having my kids around–or even having them call or email, or send carrier pigeons or smoke signals–is this: I think all three of my kids are fun to talk to. They’re interesting, and they all know things I don’t know. For all the mistakes and “interesting choices” we made as the kids were growing up, the kids are all right. I can say without hesitation that I would choose each of them to be a friend of mine if I were to meet them now. To me, that matters.

So in a few minutes, I’ll head home from conferences to find a messy kitchen and noise in my usually silent house–and it will be good.

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