Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Realizations from the Other Side

Jan. 1982

Family Candid from 2012

 This is my family. My father was a tall, dark haired man turned white. At 6'3", most people noticed him when he walked into a room. My brother, a blondish/reddish ruddy complexioned man. My mother is Irish, from her firey red hair to her powerful personality. And there's me - the blond girl in the middle.
Me and My Brother - probably in the 1980s
That's how I grew up.

For me, it wasn't at all unusual for family not to look like each other. In fact, it's one of the most beautiful parts about the way I was raised. I was no one's 'mini me'. I was just allowed to be 'me' - whatever that looked like. I wasn't expected to be a nurse, like many women in my mother's line. I love that my parents didn't waste time and effort looking for themselves in us. They just let us be 'us'. They were the bumpers that helped keep us out of trouble, taught us right from wrong, and helped us learn and grow.

As My Sailor and I are getting ready to welcome our first little one into the world, in a fashion I never expected to use to start our family, I find myself realizing that this is the first time in my life I'll spend my life with someone who might physical resemble me in some way. I mean, she may take after My Sailor more than me for all we know, but there are already signs that my genes have far from been omitted.

Becoming a parent makes us think about all the things our parents got right, and those things we'd do differently. My Sailor and I grew up very differently, so we've had some great discussions, but there is one thing we both completely agree on.

Neither of us need a 'mini me'. One of us in the world is enough.

If she never picks up a barbell, that's okay!
If she decides she hates theater, that's okay!
If she decides she hates sports, that's fine!

Instead, we look forward to getting to know her as she discovers herself and the world around her and finds all those things that make her uniquely her. That doesn't mean there won't be guidance, but we both believe in exploration.

'Family' doesn't necessarily mean a carbon copy of ourselves, but more partners along for this great adventure called 'Life' that we're all on together. 'Legacy' doesn't mean following exactly in each other's footsteps. Maybe it's about blazing our own path while carrying the ones we love with us...

I'm also looking forward to seeing her at my age - and seeing what kind of 'family' she chooses to have in her life as well. I've been incredibly blessed by mine. From my 'Strongman Sisters' to my childhood friends, from those I see every week, to those who see me a few times a decade, these men and women have all contributed into making me up nearly as much as the family that raised me.  I don't know where I'd be had these folks not crossed my path. 
A few of the gang from Strongman 2014.

We are only the first people to cross hers....