Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Family time

Morning Glory and Lei are hosting Woman to Woman today, and the topic is how you manage to get the family together. Well, that is roughly how I interpret the topic! You can pop over and read it in full at either of their places, of course.

Our life, as the children were growing up, was way out of the norm, as Geoff was at sea for 9 months of the year, and so the "family" was essentially the children and me. I swear I thought David would never learn to walk, as he was always in a car seat, pushchair, tied to my back or being carried, as we went to swimming training, judo, cricket, tennis, rugby, hockey etc. But all the children were at each other's sporting events, and school functions. I was incredibly lucky to have wonderful friends, who included us in their family events, and we all went on holiday together in groups too. My parents, and sister were also very involved in our lives, and we had many Sunday lunches together and happy times round the pools and Christmas trees. Our home was always overflowing with people.

I think you adjust to whatever happens in your life, and this was normal for us. Geoff home was unusual. We tried to do different things with the children, like family picnics when he was home, and we spent a considerable amount of time at sea with him too, sharing his life. My kids were really lucky to be able to travel so much with him. We have seen a great many oceans in our time!

Now, looking back, it seems that there was usually one of us away. Andrew went back to school in SA for 3 years, and so there were just 3 of us for a time. But, I have never thought of us as NOT having family time together. Just different kinds of time. And since 1990, my sister and I have lived in different countries. Until 1997, my parents lived in a third country. Good grief. This sounds bizarre. I am not proving to be much use in the keeping family together department.

It gets worse. My son and his wife live and work in London. My daughter lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. I am in England. My sister in Switzerland. Mum lives with me. The last time we were all together was for Geoff's funeral. But we like each other. We love each other to bits, and we talk, text, and chat via computer. This summer, my children and I will all be together in NZ to visit Diana.

So OOPS. Maybe I should have missed this one out. The only thing I can really say is that you DON'T have to be with each other often to be a family, with strength and love and fun and laughter. It works for us. It is just as well I raised my kids to be strong independent people and to fly. They have certainly done that!


They still all come home.


Morning Glory said...

The fact that they still like to come home speaks volumes to the kind of home and togetherness you provided. This was a wonderful example of how a family remains connected and in love with each other. I'm certainly glad you did decide to write today. It's important to know that there are many ways for families to be together.

Jen said...

I LOL at your description of your baby always strapped to you, being carried around, etc! It sure does feel that way with a baby sometimes, like they will never learn to walk! And then they do and they walk soooo slowly. :D

Penless Thoughts said...

I agree with what you've said. Sometimes our family has not all been here at one time, but we still have lots of family time and events with the ones who are near.

K 3 said...

Looks like you taught your kids what "home" means ... and that is the most important lesson in life. Home is where your heart lies and I hope, wish, pray I can do the same with my kids!

Linda said...

I don't think there is any set formula for the way families stay together Linds. As you said, we just have to go with what the circumstances dictate. I think you've done an incredible job of keeping the spirit of family. Even though you are separated by so many miles your thoughts and love reach across that distance and bond you together. It's great.
I'm so glad you did this.

Susie said...

Hi Linds,
My brother was also gone out to sea for over half the year. (he worked on the oil tankers as a chief engineer)
My SIL did a wonderful job holding things together while he was gone. We of course pitched in whenever needed.
I can sense that it was very much the same in your family!

Lisa M. said...

I do think that in today's world, with the technology that we have, we can be close knit families around the world.

I used to live in Warwick. My husband is from Covington, but we are in the US (i am from here) now-

Great to find you-

meggie said...

Very nice post Linds.

Lei said...

What a great example of adapting and making it work... that must have taken some effort and I admire that!

Montserrat said...

I agree with Morning Glory. It speaks volumes that your children still all "come home." Each family is unique and you found what worked for yours. That's what's important.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Each family is so unique and as long as they learn to adapt, then that is what is important.

I love to see the way other families gain strength from each other.

PEA said...

I think it's wonderful that no matter if Geoff was home or not, you always managed to do fun things with your children and spend quality time with them! Growing up, there was my parents, us 5 kids, my gran and 2 boarders...mom always made sure we had meals together and I continued that tradition with my own boys. These days, everyone is spread around so it's very hard to get together often!! xox

Myrna said...

Thank you for your unique view of the WtW topic this week. It sounds to me like you and your family have a lot of "togetherness", You just may not be in the same room--or country! Your family sounds interesting!

Lori said...

Blessings to you, I enjoyed your post today.