FMF: Family

Joining in with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word: Family.

Here goes…

Family

START

The psychiatrist asked me what my childhood had been like. Seeing me stumbling (it was – is – rather an enormous question), he asked, “If you could describe it in one word, what word would you choose?” I chose ideal. Followed up – between tears – with happy, joyous, beautiful and a torrent of other positive, life-affirming words (I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood).

Why the tears? Because I, a Mama, have been unable to offer my children the same sort of childhood and that, for me, is one of my greatest failures: one that I’ve had, and will continue to have, great difficulties overcoming.

Isn’t it, after all, the job of a Mama to make sure her children are safe? That their life is comfortable and free of stress/upset/heartache?

The Dr. moved on, then, to my impressions of their father’s childhood (one I had only come to know of many years after we were married). I explained briefly: his father died when he was four, his mother abandoned him, he was passed around between various Aunts, each of whom seemed to treat him worse than the others. A Grimm fairy tale of a childhood if ever there was one.

“Ah”, the Dr said, “…that explains it. His complete lack of effort to keep his family together and his complete lack of remorse about the effects on your children”. [“Well, yes, Dr, I’d kind of figured that one out by myself, thank you” I chided, mentally]. “He’s repeating his past, because that’s all he’s ever known”, I heard the Dr saying (finding I just couldn’t be bothered to actively listen any longer).

And I found the tears rolling again. I hurt for him too, for all the years he experienced without love. For all the moments he, himself, must have felt so totally alone. For the things that did to him, for the warps it caused and the pain this, in turn, has caused my children.

But there aren’t enough tears in the world to cry away all that pain and chains of pain have to be broken so, as I said to the Dr, we’re a family, a smaller family, a family that’s been through things no family should ever experience, things no child should ever have to witness, but we’re strong. 

You see, there’s a lot of love in our three-member family. A lot. So much love it spills out, actually, all over the place. So much love that people remark on it.

It’s definitely an extraordinary love.

A love that comforts, that covers them both whole, that slowly – just like the waves in a river smoothing the stones shiny – is covering all the hurt, erasing all the trauma. There’ll always be memories, bad memories, but with this kind of love, those memories lose their power.

We’re a family of three. Surrounded by love. Made whole, again, by love.

Yes, bad things have happened but love conquers all.

“Let your children see your majesty” He says. I’m a great believer in that. Light and love from above cast only love-filled, hope-filled, shadows, and this is enabling them – my two precious children – to find their footing again, to rise glorious in the face of it all.

They’re my family. They’re my all. 

My boy. My girl.

[I love you]

END

[Difficult post to think about and to write and a difficult word this week, in light of the events in Oregon – and the events in Syria and the Syrian refugee crisis – my heart longs for the world to realise that we’re all family. Until we develop this consciousness, as a race, I wonder how many more tragedies we have to read about on a daily basis?]

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31 thoughts on “FMF: Family

  1. Gabriele says:

    My heart feels. I absoblommin’ know that Jesus mends families. His at-one-ment makes the broken turn “beauty from ashes”. I know you know that. That is why you can write about it.

    Like

    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Gabriele, yes, I know this too, in my heart. I don’t know what form this will take but I know my children won’t always live with this image of their father. Time heals all wounds and time will tell, as they say. Thanks, Gabriele. Helen xx

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  2. Helen, this is such a poignant post. I am sorry for your kids, and for you. But, I am so thankful you have a clear definition of healthy family life and you can help you children learn what that really, truly looks like. Thank you for sharing such a big piece of your heart today, Helen.

    And for the record, you are not a failure. You’re really not. It’s hard when our children are affected by our decisions, but Jesus. . . our Redeemer, the One who loves us. And He’s working in your childrens’ lives too. He’s the One who fills in our gaps in our mothering. I’m praying for you today, sweet friend.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Jeanne, I’m definitely growing to fill the idea of Him filling in the gaps. [It’s wonderfully comforting as I see it in action in our lives every day]. Have a great weekend…I loved your FMF post, too….Helen xx

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  3. joanneviola says:

    Such a hard post to write. You are brave in more ways than you realize. Today may you be assured that our God will be with you & your children. Through Him, your children will grow to be healthy & loving, able to recognize the brokenness experienced through many & be filled with compassion for them. Praying for you all this morning.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Thanks Joanne: I actually felt very hopeful and happy when I wrote the post (I realise, reading it back, that doesn’t come through, however…)….I definitely agree that this is one of the things my children have learnt, from all of this: the importance of compassion. Your prayers are gratefully received. Helen xx

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  4. tohavelove says:

    This is beautiful, and hard. I echo the above comment – you are not a failure. God is in the business of making all things new and making everything right again. It may not always look like what we imagined but He is there, always redeeming.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Sarah…thanks for popping over. The failure feelings are definitely fading. Love, and time, heal all and His power for redemption is definitely bottomless. Helen

      Like

  5. Barbara says:

    Oh my friend! Helen, you are brave; you are courageous; you are the “mama bear” that is protecting your little ones and have proved that Family IS what you have…because, Family is who you have with you in your life, your home…your words bring tears; yet I know you have come so far in this and have made such a difference in the lives of those little ones you love so much…they may remember some of what has happened; you will see that there are many many good things to remember instead!!

    Thank you, as always, for sharing your heart and soul in your writing!

    Like

  6. Ah those hard stories to tell and the processing of real events in our own lives and in the world. It isn’t always joy or ideal. It is okay. We are a broken people in need of mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness. The Savior is just that…a Savior. Thanks for sharing. jenn

    Like

  7. Tara says:

    You are so beautifully strong friend…even though you may not feel like it. Great post.

    Like

  8. Sian says:

    I think you’ve given your children much much more than you might ever realise. If it’s any help at all ..I think children don’t always judge their happiness in the same way adults do. If asked I always say i was a happy teenager. And I was. And yet..I started Grammar School five weeks after my dad died, my Mum was diagnosed with MS a couple of years later and I ended up shouldering quite a big burden. I still would go back to those teenage years: we were together and we pulled together and now I know that was down to how strong my Mum actually was. You are doing it.

    Like

    • iwillbloom says:

      Sian, thanks so much for your words. I agree that children don’t judge happiness the way we do. I also definitely agree that hardships can make you pull together and make you much closer as a result [I didn’t know this part of your family history]. Thanks Sian….Helen xxx

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  9. Beautiful post Helen! You should feel so proud of the beautiful strong family you have been the anchor for – weathering all the storms, yet here you all are stronger than ever. Boy, does that speak volumes about the person you are my Friend. You’re amazing. And strong. And loving. And forgiving. And kind. And smart. And did I mention amazing?

    And I completely agree how we’re all one family….and until we start acting like it this world isn’t going to heal.
    Blessings. xoxo

    Like

    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Carrie, thanks for your comment….hah! Your full confidence in me is inspiring to me….and gives me extra strength. Thank you so, so much…Helen xxx

      Like

  10. carlybenson says:

    You say it yourself- “love conquers all”. Your love and strength are an amazing example to your children. Please don’t think you’re a failure. And God’s power to heal and redeem is amazing. We can’t always see it at the time but he can take even the worst things and work them for good.

    Like

  11. Carolyn says:

    I can imagine this was difficult to write, Helen, but it was a very positive and empowering post. May you create lots of new, beautiful, loving memories with your kiddies x

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Carolyn, I actually felt it was a positive post (as you say)….thank you….I do try to make sure we’re creating lots of new memories…it’s a sure way through….Helen xxx

      Like

  12. alexa says:

    However difficult, Helen, to write, what comes across is your determination and ability to create something different for your own children. And that’s what matters :). I would not call my own childhood happy, but my children tell me theirs was. And as compassionate as we can feel for those who behave in damaging and hurtful ways, they too have the ability – through awareness – to choose differently if they really decide to make that journey …

    Like

    • iwillbloom says:

      Alexa…thank you for your words. [Especially the ones about deciding to make ‘that’ journey….that’s something I definitely cannot, and should not have to, be involved with….]. Helen xxx

      Like

  13. Ifeoma Samuel says:

    Hi Helen, this must have been so hard to pen down. But your kids see your heart and someday will understand whet you went through, so please don’t consider yourself a failure. The love you have drowns every failure and surround you with peace.
    You are Blessed, friend in more ways than you think.
    Hugs

    Like

  14. Hard, sad and yet, hopeful. Thanks for sharing the hope in the midst of the dark. Perhaps that’s where se find it most, Helen.

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Debby, thanks for your words…..hard, yes, sad, yes, but ultimately hopeful. That’s how I like to think of this stage of my life: not in the negative but as a positive. Thanks so much. [Littles were on half term last week so I’ve had a 10-day break from my laptop….off to your blog shortly…]

      Like

  15. Zoe Rose says:

    This a lovely, inspiring post. That love is what counts, regardless of circumstances or details. Love to you all! X

    Like

  16. Beautiful and brave post Helen. Your little ones are so lucky+blessed to have you.

    Like

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