As I sat at my daughter's apartment, that at 23 she is fully independent, I found myself reflecting on the state of my most important relationships. And how those relationships affect my view on life. I would like to share some of those thoughts.
First, and I am truly blessed to be able to say and mean this, my direct family relations are as strong and healthy as they have ever been. I consider my direct family as my parents, siblings, wife and children. So that number is 8 - and right now my relationship with each of them allows me to have peace, joy and bliss. I am proud of them and I know they are equally proud of me in any/every instance of our respective success and achievement.
This perceived (my perspective) or actual (each of our perspectives) reality was not always the case. There were times when my brother and I were not where we should have been as older and younger siblings, similarly with my sisters as we were not always in a good place. My level, type and depth of communication with my dad was not nearly as mature as it is now. I will say, though I still don't talk to her as much as I should, my mom has always been at the ready and our relationship has never dipped or wavered. And my relationship with my wife and children remain healthy and strong. Because my closest relationships are my healthiest, my mental, emotional and spiritual state is vibrant.
These thoughts emerged as I am in the midst of spending 4 consecutive weekends with family. And each continue to fill me with positive energy and gratification. Not only the achievement or demonstrated state of success of those I love; and not just seeing them laugh and smile in their happiness; but also sharing all those instances with each other.
Two weekends ago my dad was recognized by my hometown, and my mom, brother, sister, wife and extended family, shared in this (at and after the ceremony). Last weekend my wife and I were immersed in the All-Dunbar Reunion in Lynchburg, VA (my dad is in the class of '64), and we saw my dad in his most natural element, full of joy and happiness as he and my mom shared stories with friends whom they have known and loved for decades. The pride in every graduate of Dunbar High School (which no longer exists) was palpable. This weekend my oldest daughter got us baseball tickets (Astros-Orioles) and my Astros scored 23 runs in a blowout. But the game was secondary as my daughter drove, paid for my food and drinks, was the perfect host and we were able to share stories, talk about our lives, personally and professionally, and enjoy each other’s company on a beautiful summer night.
Lastly, next weekend my parents will visit my brother, and I will ride back up to Maryland just to spend more time with family. And when the day ends, and I lay in bed next to my soulmate reflecting on where I am in life, it is not my military success or my forthcoming book that matters the most, it is that over the last 40+ years I have been blessed to either be the recipient of, or a contributor to, fostering love and success of/for family. And that matters so much to me for so many reasons.
My question to you – where are you with your direct family relationships, and if not where “they should be,” what are you doing to improve them?