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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

The People In It

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No two families are the same. Some children are adopted. Others have two mothers or two fathers. Some are raised by grandparents or live in foster care. I think the meaning of family is different for everyone.

When I look at my little family, I know that each member has their own purpose. Everybody brings something different to the table. When the mood is going one way, a certain member can completely shift the dynamics. It’s pretty amazing.

Provider and Fun Parent

My husband is an extremely hardworking man. He’s creative, funny, and sensitive. I guess he needs to be, living in a house with three girls. He writes notes and places them in our daughter’s lunch boxes each day. On a good day, I’ll find one in mine. He always seems to know when I’ve had a bad day. And he knows that asking what’s wrong or what happened isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, I don’t want to discuss it. So instead, he asks “Is there anything I can do”, and hugs me. It’s all I need and he always knows.

My husband knows just how to make our girls laugh, even when they’re feeling sad or cranky. If my oldest struggles with reading or a certain craft she’s working on, he’ll slide up next to her at the table and call her “cookie” - the nickname he affectionately gave her. She always smiles, instantly. Then he asks - “Want a snack?” They usually share a few Oreo's - him dunking his in milk, while my daughter twists hers, licking the cream out before eating the cookies. They laugh and she relaxes, ready to tackle her project with a clear mind.

I know my husband feels the pressure to provide for our family, as most men do. He may not make six figures or drive a company car, but he works with his hands each day and makes people’s lives better. His creativity can be seen in his work, as well as in his hobby. He loves woodwork. He made our kitchen table, corn hole boards, rocking chairs, and various other pieces of furniture. He is extremely talented. If our family needs a good laugh or something put together, we go see daddy!

Sweet and Smart

My oldest daughter is our straight and narrow. She loves school, plays with her dolls, colors, and is always willing to help her younger sister. She can play for hours in her room with her Shopkins and stuffed animals. Her imagination amazes me. She’s my quiet and even-mannered child. She reminds me a lot of myself. Her brains, organizational skills, and ability to see a task from start to finish will serve her well in life.

Spunky and Determined

Now, my youngest daughter is the complete opposite of her sister. She is the son my husband never had. She’s extremely strong-willed and sassy. She doesn’t like the word “no” (though most children don’t) and she’ll tell you so. I am constantly redirecting her, reminding her of her manners, and discussing her behavior with her daycare teachers. She’s not a “bad” kid. She’s extremely sweet when she wants to be and kind to her friends. While her sister plays with dolls, she plays with trucks. She can always be found in my husband’s workshop - using the tools, asking questions, and getting her hands dirty. Her determination, energy, and tenacity will take her far.

Supporter and Disciplinarian

And then, there’s me. The mother. The wife. The rock of the family in so many ways. My family is my little tribe and I’m the mama bear. I am very protective of both my children and my husband. I am also their number one cheerleader. If something is important to my family, then it becomes important to me. I have always supported my husband’s dreams, as well as my daughters’. I encourage them to constantly better themselves, try new things, and expand their horizons. I want my girls to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

Between my husband and I, I am definitely more of the disciplinarian. Daddy is the “fun” parent. When he comes home, it’s almost a guarantee that the girls go to bed late. They get excited to see him, climb on his back, and within minutes a full blown tickle/wrestling match ensues on the living room floor. And sleep seems so far away. Because I am with my girls everyday, I need to establish a routine, rules, and a system. I love my family to the ends of the earth and will always do what I think is best for them.

This dynamic works for our family. My husband and I decided not to have anymore children after our second because our family felt complete. And now, as our daughters grow older, I know that we made the right choice.

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