The other night we had a birthday dinner for our oldest son. All of our kids were home as well as a few of their friends. The conversation was lively, everyone was included, there was laughter, jokes, intellectual conversation about the chemistry my son studies and the neuroscience my oldest daughter studies. All kinds of information was shared and everyone had a voice. There were jokes and stories; everyone at the table was equally important.
I love those family dinners. We were joking with our youngest daughters friend who had never had dinner with us before this evening; we were explaining during our laughter about ‘bathroom talk at the table’ that this is how we are sometimes and we hoped we didn’t scare her off. She felt comfortable enough to add a few of her own jokes and the next day she texted our daughter saying “your family is awesome”.
I was thinking about our family dinners and how amazing they are. We talk to each other and we listen to each other. We are genuinely interested in each other! There are no cell phones or electronic media allowed at the table. We usually sit around talking about every subject under the sun well after the meal is over even when we don’t have company and it is just the 5 of us. This is incredible to me!
These dinners and this kind of communication are what make me feel the most successful as a mother. I was saying to my husband that sometimes when we are all sitting around eating, talking and laughing that I feel as though I am in a movie! You know how it all seems so perfect in the movies; the beautiful people sitting around a beautiful table with awesome food and all kinds of love and laughter. Our family times at the dinner table seem so surreal, so unbelievable, almost too perfect! I guess that is because everyday family meals, celebrations, family get together events and holidays were NOT anything like this when I was growing up. If anything, they were stressful.
These wonderful mutually respectful and fulfilling family relationships are a bonus of healing! They are a direct result of doing the work and facing the pain. Sorting through the truth about all that was wrong in my family of origin, seeing how I was not regarded with equal value, accepting that I had not been safe or protected and that my feelings didn’t really matter is what helped me so much to create a different family environment for MY kids and in my own marriage. It was seeing how the damage from trauma and abuse and from being discounted and devalued in so many ways damaged my self-esteem so deeply, that I was able to see my mothering role through a new grid and I was able to make the necessary adjustments so that my kids always know they are loved and emotionally supported.
My husband and I focus on empowering instead of disempowering. We lead by example. We believe that love is an action word.
I am grateful for all of my blessings and although I know that the road to healing is paved with bumps, tears and is full of gaping dark holes, I am here to tell you that there is freedom, wholeness, life and mutually respectful, healthy relationships ~ on the other side!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! This blog is read in 132 countries so to everyone all over the world, happy holidays; persistence has been the key to my progress in this process of emotional healing. Gratitude, even for the tiniest things was always a little bright spot on some of the darkest days.
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