One of the Closest Families I Know.

When I was a freshman in high school, I met a new friend. Her name is Sandy. We immediately clicked and became very close friends.
When I spent the night with her, I was introduced to a different world.
Her family was so much fun. All of the kids in the neighborhood hung out at their house. It's not because they let the kids get away with anything. They just had fun. We watched movies, had parties, listened to music, they took us to the beach. (I lived in Florida all of my life and hardly ever went to the beach!)
Their house was a mess. They had 2 big dogs and who knows how many cats. The laundry piled up. The dishes piled up. Nobody seemed to notice.
Except my mom. My mom was kind of mortified by them.
I remember Sandy's Dad walking around the house, singing all the time and drinking a beer. He wasn't a drunk, but he enjoyed a few beers on the weekend. I still always think of him when I hear "Saturday, in the park, think it was the fourth of July..."
Sandy has three sisters, and those girls could talk to their mom about anything. It's not that she never got mad...oh, boy, did they get mad...but there was just an openness that I so envied.
They loved passionately and they got angry passionately. Sandy was the huggiest person I knew! She hugged everyone, all the time.
I remember once, Sandy's mom caught us sneaking our boyfriends up to Sandy's room. We weren't up to anything terribly bad, just a little smooching and giggling and kid stuff. But her mom was pissed! And I remember Sandy asked her Mom if she was going to tell my mother. And Sandy's mom said, "No, but if she has any kind of relationship with her mother, she'll tell her herself."
I didn't tell my mother.
Sandy and I have been in and out of touch since high school. I looked her up and called her when I read in the paper that her father had died.
She told me all about it, and she had me sobbing on the phone. Those girls adored their father.
And still to this day, all four girls are so close to their mother.
Were they perfect parents? Nope. Did they do everything right? I doubt it.
But the love in that family is almost a tangible thing. You can feel it when you're around them. They are unbelievably close, all of them. They practically worship their mother, and their dad's memory.
That's the kind of family I want to have. That's the kind of parent I want to be.
Sandy's parents knew what was important. It wasn't having a sparkling house and manicured lawn. It wasn't holding back your feelings so as not to rock the boat. It wasn't what the neighbors think of you.
It was yelling and hugging and spending time together as a family having FUN. It was talking about anything and everything. It was something I can't even put a name to; it was a feeling. I only hope that I can replicate it with my family.
Sandy's mom can look at her grown, successful girls now, and how much they absolutely adore her, and know without a doubt that she did something right.
And truly, in the end, what could be more important?


Ramblin' Red said...

Oooooh, ooh, ooh, me too! I want that kind of family! We are trying our darnedest to be that family too. Thanks for sharing!

Tara R. said...

Beautifully told. I want that too... I think my kids know they can tell me anything, but they are both at that age, that it can be embarrassing to let your mom know that much about yourself. I'm glad you had that role model of a good family growing up.

Sandy C. said...

Such a beautiful post. Just reading about their family made me tear up. I aspire to create a family like that. You are right, nothing could be more important in the world.

Immoral Matriarch said...

This was a gorgeous, gorgeous post.

Kel said...

I think we all want that for our children...I know I would like to be that kind of parent (because I did not have it growing up). Most of all, I want my children to be happy, I want the best for them.

Great story~

Kellan said...

What a nice tribute your your friend and her family!

Take care - Kellan

Melissa said...

Amen to that one. I can only hope I'm half that successful at this parenting thing.

Huckdoll said...

Oh wow, a post like this really does put into perspective what is and isn't important in life, you know?

It is so important to yell and laugh and express every emotion in between. It's so important not to sweat the small stuff and actually enjoy each other. I definitely didn't grow up in a home like this, but I would really love to give that to my girls someday.

Kudos...perfect post.

Groovy Mom said...

You can't know how much this post made me smile. I beat myself up on a daily basis because my house isn't tidy enough and because our lawn sometimes has too many weeds and because sometimes I yell like crazy at my kids, but we have what Sandy's family has. We laugh and sing and dance and act foolishly on a daily basis too. We hug each other and tell each other how much we love each other every single day. All of us, and I had no idea someone looking in would value that. I thought maybe they would see it all as impossibly chaotic. How nice to see it through your eyes.

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

hi cyndy ~
awwwhhh thanks! you so got to me! you had me tearing up by the end. thank you for sharing this "real" and awesome example.

g'night, beany :)

Kimmylyn said...

I really enjoyed this post.. it really is so important.. I strive to have that kind of life with my boys..

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Wow, thank you all. I'm glad I could make some of you stop & think, relax and not sweat the small stuff. It took me a while to figure this out, but I truly look back at this family as a model for what I want us to be like.
Groovy Mom, STOP beating yourself up! You've got it good.

A Buns Life said...

THAT is exactly it. What I didn't have and what I am working hard on having now.....

Caffeine Court said...

I love this family and I've never even met them!

I'm sorry to hear about Sandy's father...so sad.

Thanks for sharing!

anymommy said...

Nothing is more important. Awesome post. Thanks! My husband and I know a family like this and we talk a lot about how to be more like them. Wish it was more natural for me, but we're trying.