Family is all about contrast. It’s a microcosm through which we see the world. It’s amazing and joyful, and then it’s sad and hurtful all at the same time. Family is the good and bad, the light and the dark, in real time everyday, right in front of our faces. It’s messy and hard to handle and inexplicable. But then that same family is supportive, uplifting, and the brightest spot in our universe. It’s loving and comforting, and then it exposes our flaws and tears us down like nothing else can. It’s the real world, right there in our living room.
Family is amazing, and I see all of these opposites within my twins. Having twins. Living with twins. Raising them. It buoys my spirit while at the same time knocking me down a peg or two. They are connected, yet disconnected. I watch my twins look at each other in the mirror instead of building their own mirror image up. They want to run from that image, to hide, or tear that image apart. They complement yet conflict with each other, and they’re constantly teaching me.
Family is our training facility for life. It informs us how to treat others and how to treat ourselves. It’s a safe space to truly let our guard down. But that’s a gift that can also be scary. Nobody can point out your flaws, your insecurities, and your darkest fears quite like your family. But nobody can soothe them with the simple touch of a hand, a hug, or a casual “you’ll be okay” like your family either. They provide all the advice we need to hear but pretend not to listen to.
It’s crying in your bedroom tonight, and then looking back five years from now and realizing your parents were right. It’s the cute family puppy who grew into a big dog that sometimes poops under the couch. It’s losing your cool, saying things you don’t mean, and having big regrets. But it’s also dance parties on the bed and shouts of glee for the cool mom. It’s getting angry over something stupid and avoiding each other in the hallway. But it means not staying mad for too long because it’s time for Chinese takeout and family movie nights on the couch. It’s arguing over the front seat, fighting when parents aren’t looking, and realizing that a bond between siblings is unlike any other. It’s hearing stories from your mom and dad’s past that are embarrassing or gross, but at the same time feeling thoroughly enthralled by the fact that they were young once too.
Family means forcing ourselves to prioritize time for each other in the space of our busy lives. It’s noticing each other, putting our phones down, and actually talking face to face when everybody gets home at night. It’s borrowing clothes, screaming matches, card games, and cooking dinner together. All of these become the foundations for our basic life skills.
It’s resenting your family, becoming totally annoyed with them, and getting madder at them than anybody on earth, but knowing that you couldn’t live without them and being eternally grateful that yes, you are stuck together until the end and they prepared you for this life.