Family life July 9, 2009Posted by Lauren Cooke in Family, Life, Chatter & Politics.
Tags: Family, friendship, Love, society
I was reading this delightfully eloquent (if a little controversial) post on Cie’s blog, and it got me to thinking about the role of families in our lives in this modern age. It wasn’t quite the point of the article, more a little non-sequitur at the end, but it sure got me thinking.
For me, family is an incredible and vital part of my existence. There aren’t many of us, pretty much just a nuclearbase with a few estranged cousins, but we are tight and loving and brilliant. I happily call my mother “Mummy” and my father “Daddy”, and ring them every other day just to chat and jibber away.
I live quite a way from home now, at least 3 hours, and as such don’t get home that often to see them. Whilst I survive quite happily as just me, I love them very much and miss them regularly. It was once said to me that as I had moved away from home, I mustn’t be very close to my family. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. Because I am so close to them, and they know we won’t lose each other, it makes it easier for me to move a long way away yet still feel connected and part of the unit.
It helps, of course, that I get on well with my sister and parents, particularly now that Jessie and I are out of the horrible hormonal years of teenage outrage and sibling rivalry. I’m just the kind-of-cool older sister now!
Being in a relationship with Ben has opened up my mind to a whole different world – a world with extensive (and daunting) family trees, millions of cousins and even more second cousins twice removed! It is amazing to be part of it, and in the doing so I have gained new members to my family, namely Ben and his lovely siblings.
Families as a whole, however, have changed a lot in the past few decades. The original nuclear family has been replaced with new networks – step parents, biological parents and more. The unit of Mum, Dad and 2.5 children has slipped away into a world where people follow their emotion and no longer have to stay together for fear of being socially blacklisted and regarded as fickle.
In many ways, this is fabulous. After all, it theoretically brings happiness and choice into an area where once if you were in it you were in it for good. Of course damage occurs in new areas as children take the brunt of messy breakups and as affairs become easier, simpler and more “acceptable”. In principal, however, the move towards flexibility, change and relationships based on your feelings and situations are great.
But then I realise that nothing is ever as simple as the overreaching statements that I am trying to make. After all, here I am, a country girl from a tight family who have had their problems, but have fought through together. And my parents aren’t married. I know so many people from all walks of family life, some who love their families, some who claim to hate them. Some, more disturbingly, where the family environment is dangerous and unhealthy, despite it’s seeming innocence and textbook set-up.
Essentially, whilst everything has changed and grown and evolved, families have always been, and will always be, complex beasts. All we have done is introduce new and exciting obstacles and challenges to the mix. The times have changed, but families still exist and are vital to society, whatever form they may take.
For me, I am lucky enough to have a small but brilliant family. My mum, with her wicked sense of humour and her ability to understand whatever weird message I am going for. My dad, with his quiet nature and personality dangerously similar to my own. My sister, who now the hormones are wearing off is a brilliant and intelligent young girl who I look forward to seeing carve her path through the world. Ben, who has slotted in just like he belongs, and taken me for all I am – and my lack of persona appropriateness! Cie, who I never assumed I would know as well as I do, and who I couldn’t have survived without in Leamington. My family includes my friends too – Jasmine, Charlie and Stephen particularly from home, because they will love me no matter how long it has been since I last saw them, and Nommi, Laura and Vicky from uni for being my rocks and my savours.
It is nothing to do with blood – but my family make me who I am.