I grew up without a lot of family around. We didn’t live near any extended family and I didn’t have a sense of aunts and uncles, or cousins. I knew what they were and the genetic ties but they had little meaning to me. I had grandparents but I didn’t see them often. They lived far away and were not very involved in our lives. There had also been several marriages and divorces, and the new husbands were my “grandpa.” I remember being about 17 when one day I did some thinking about it and figured out who my real grandpa was.
Since I have married I have a better understanding of extended family relationships and their importance. When we were actually planning our wedding, my husband wanted to have his aunts and uncles at the ceremony. He grew up with them very involved in his life. He knew all of his cousins and there were dozens of them. His extended family gathered often and they even had family reunions. I knew about family reunions but had never been to one before.
Since space was limited at our wedding, and I didn’t have a good understanding of family connections, aunts and uncles were unimportant to me. So, we didn’t have them come to the ceremony. Now that I am an aunt I see it differently. I love my nieces and nephews and feel a connection to them. I love going to their weddings and family gatherings. I rejoice with them at the births of their children and other life events.
If I had it to do over again I would have found a way to have my husband’s aunts and uncles at our ceremony. I see the importance of family and family connections now. I see the value of having aunts and uncles involved in our lives.
I also like the titles of aunt and uncle, or grandma and grandpa, and I like these titles to be included with the person’s name. Titles tell us how we are connected to each other. They recognize that we are family. Titles give us a sense of belonging. They help you to know that your relationship is special and that love is there.
Recently one of my daughters referred to me by my first name with her child. I told her to include Grandma with my name. I explained to her why I think titles are important. It’s because I want my grandchildren to know I am not just another person in their lives. I want my grandchildren to know how we are connected, that we are family, that we belong together. I want my grandchildren to know that our relationship is special and that I love them.
My husband absolutely loves his profession and he is lucky to have his dream job. He likes being able to make a difference in the lives of others and the creativity he is able to express. He enjoys working with great people and learning from them. But even with his dream job there are things he has to do that he doesn’t like. He doesn’t like itemizing and submitting for reimbursement because it’s tedious and takes time away from what he really likes to do. He also doesn’t like sitting in long meetings, traveling away from home so much, and the long hours the job sometimes requires. Even with all of that he will tell you he loves his job. I love my job as homemaker and mother. I enjoy the freedom to plan my own day, to be able to help in my kid’s schools (only one left now), to take my kids to the park and the pool when they were younger, and to have time to make curtains and shop for home decor, to read with my kids (now grandkids), do family history and others such things. I love planning fun parties to celebrate great moments in our family. I love to decorate! Those are some of the things I love and have the freedom to do but even with those things there are a lot of things I don’t like about being a homemaker and even sometimes a mother. It’s hard to never quite get enough sleep, I dislike paying bills and balancing the checkbook, I don’t like to change bedding and I don’t like yard work. It’s hard to always do everything with your children in mind-what time will they be home, where do they have to be and what do they need, and since I still have one at home I still have to do that. Even with all of that I would tell you I have a great job. I love being a homemaker and a mother. In talking with other people I have learned that no matter what job you have there will be things you like about it and things you don’t like about it. Of course, if the things you don’t like are greater than the things you do like you may need to be in a different job. Sometimes we enter a job or profession or even parenthood without realizing that there will be things we don’t like about it. There are no perfect, stress-free, hassle-free, problem-less jobs. Figuring that out allowed me to be happy doing what I was doing, and when there were problems, not focusing on the thought that if I was working out of my home I would be happier. Really, no matter what or where I work there will be things I like and don’t like about what I’m doing, even a dream job.