Åse wrote last week about the importance of connections and relationships. How family is so important for your sanity as a parent – and in the absence of extended family living nearby – you need to make your own ‘new family’ with friends and neighbours.
This week I have a dilemma that hasn’t quite happened before. My husband is away and both my children have important events taking place on Friday that both need my involvement. I can’t be in 2 (very distant) places at once – so what do I do? Like Åse, I have no direct family here in Surrey and so need to rely on others for help at times like this.
I have had the arduous task of moving 9 times in 10 years. Despite becoming super-efficient at packing and unpacking, plus developing excellent muscles – I have also had to adapt to continuous new environments and new people at every turn. Bonding and settling into new places is very hard when you move constantly, as is establishing those trusted relationships that are so necessary when you don’t have family living nearby.
So, who do I call in a situation like the one I am in for Friday? Do I throw the net wide and call on my close friends who don’t live in the area, or I do disappoint one child over another? This caused me a very sleepless night last night (as well as the VERY hot weather!) until I realised that I have teenagers now. The responsibility for scheduling and decision making is no longer just mine to make. I have two very capable teenagers who can join this discussion and hopefully work out a solution.
And I was right. My daughter seems to have embodied the extended family culture in a very real way and has created a network that really staggers me in the community she moves in. She can draw on help, advice and support (in this case transport!) in a way that I didn’t expect – showing me that it is never too soon to embody the concept of creating a family wherever you go. Not just you – but every member of your family. This led me to a very meaningful conversation with my son today about the relationships he is forming and how to develop this feeling of community that is so essential to successful relationships.
From my side, I am extremely thankful for my daughter who has such confidence and wisdom with the relationships she develops, and the adults who have taken her under their wing and are lighthouses for her. I will keep this conversation up with my son…and help him to get there too!