On Christmas Eve, I was inundated with Facebook posts by friends showing their families sitting around tables, playing board games, putting puzzles together, and smiling at the camera with hot chocolate mustaches. Why didn’t I post any pictures like that? Well, my family had different ideas of what the idyllic Christmas Eve would look like. So, what was my family doing? You see, my husband works at a small local liberal arts college, and all of the students were gone for break. My oldest son got the bright idea to have all the kids go to one of the empty buildings and play a combination tag/hide and seek. They were gone for hours and had a blast while I cleaned up the house, started the Christmas cooking, and finished wrapping presents. When they came back, they showed me videos they had taken with their phones as they ran through the empty hallways and staircases, trying to find one another and becoming hopelessly lost in the process. Even though they had a great time, it was hardly the “look at my happy family doing nice Christmas things” picture perfect scene that could be posted on Facebook. And while I was cleaning the kitchen and ruminating on this, I realized that this is just who and what my family is. We have never been the Hallmark movie kind of family that makes perfect pictures and looks impressive to outsiders. We have always marched to our own drum and done our own thing. And as the years go on, I’m realizing it’s ok. My kids all get along and like each other, for the most part, and we can have a happy family even if it is in a very non-picture perfect way.
If your family doesn’t look picture perfect, or even dressed, or clean, don’t sweat it. What matters is love. Raise your family with love and the rest will fall into place. Trust me.