Here we are at the end of another year and I can’t believe how time has flown! We finally have the Mother-in-law apartment mostly finished and my parents are living in it! It has taken us over a year to do most of the work ourselves and pay for it as we go. The kids are moving on and bio child number two is getting married in a few months. The oldest of the chosen girls is almost done with her first quarter in college and chosen girl number 3 is home schooling her final year in elementary school. Two children are seniors in high school and we’ve just had all six kids plus significant others home for Thanksgiving.
Childhood Thanksgiving memories for me include lots of family, good food and a loud football game on t.v. (my grandpa was very hard of hearing!) There was the occasional disagreement but mostly for the kids it was just fun to get together and play with cousins and see aunts, uncles and grandparents. As the years have passed, I have enjoyed most Thanksgiving’s with family. Since the grandparents have passed away our home has become the place for the yearly family gathering. Over the years the cousins playing changed from myself and cousins to my children and their cousins and now even those children have grown and several are now adulting.
Considering how much I’ve missed the two children who have grown and moved it seems like having them all home would have made this Thanksgiving the best weekend of the year. This is the first time all six children have been under the same roof since June and the first time since last January that the spouse was also here. However, it seems that this family reunion is where the trouble has started or at least picked up the pace. During this last year, bio child number one and his wife have announced their decision to make a 180 degree turn around and walk the opposite way of their conservative Christian upbringing. They have decided to change everything from their religion to their diet and sexual orientation.
This news was completely unexpected and has caused no small amount of introspection, at least on my part, as well as a few tears and some heart felt talks and prayers. First of all I am trying to understand where these two are coming from when making these major life decisions. Second of all, I am trying to learn how to convey to them my unconditional love while at the same time staying true to my own values which cause me to completely disagree with someone I love more than life itself.
I am no stranger to having differences with people and being able to love and respect them in spite of differences. Portraying this to someone so emotionally entangled with me as my precious first born, though, has proved to be way harder than I would have ever expected. Maybe it’s because he knows very well what my positions are in politics, religion and every day living and feels judged. Maybe it’s because I have tried to share some of my pain in the process and ended up sharing too much.
Whatever the case, Thanksgiving ended up being very painful for him and me both and when it was all over, his caustic post on social media made it obvious to the world that he was very angry. For the first time in his life, I don’t know what to do to help him. He is no longer a small child that just needs a kiss and a band aid to fix his hurts. This is something he will have to figure out with his wife and painful though it is, I will have to just wait.
I hope we will come to a point soon that we can agree to disagree and he can believe that he is still loved and valued. I am hoping that holidays will get easier again. I know there have been those who’ve gone before me that also traversed this ground. I am wishing now that I had asked them how they made it through. I believe my God will get me through and that in spite of my son’s denial that that same God will also attend him. I guess I will leave this unfinished for now because we are still in the middle of this pain. I have experienced the peace that “surpasses all understanding” guarding my heart and mind through Christ Jesus and I am grateful! (Phil. 4:7)