Over the years and with all the moves, time has become SO important to me. Whether it’s quiet time with God, time with Willie before a deployment, time with my family when I go home, or time spent by myself, it’s something that I never seem to get enough of these days (I’m sure you all can relate)…
In my family, spending quality family time together was mandatory and in most cases inevitable (whether you wanted to or not it WAS going to happen). From a very early age, we were taught that family always comes FIRST (right after God). As a child, I loved this ‘family-oriented’ approach. I mean what other plans do you have when you’re only 6 or 7 years old? However, going into my teenage years, hanging out with my family (better yet my parents) was the last thing I wanted to do.
Mind you, I never disliked my family (in fact I LOVED them), but I absolutely hated being stuck at the house and would use just about any excuse to leave. My once family filled days, were now spent at friend’s houses, going out to eat, flirting with boys, catching the latest movies, meeting people at football games and going to parties.
Although, for the most part I was a pretty good girl (had a job, made good grades, had lots of friends, didn’t get in trouble), I am not going to pretend I was an innocent angel. I experienced what most people experience during their teenage years: a lot of confusion, searching for purpose in life, young love, discovering who I was, stupid decisions, under-age drinking, heartbreaks and a few lifelong friends to help me along the way.
As teenagers, we tend to be selfish. We think only of ourselves and do whatever benefits us in the moment. We don’t think about the consequences of our actions or how those actions effect other people. Family, although still important is often replaced with friends. Our time is spent wishing we were somewhere else, doing something bigger and better. Our mindset is stuck on “the grass is always greener on the other side”, only to find out it’s not. We’ve planned our future without appreciating the very people who got us there – our family.
If there’s one thing that my 26 year old self could tell my 16 year old self, I would say cherish that family time. Make that family time a priority, not a chore or obligation. It took me a little while to grasp this concept, but I have now come to realize that family really is the MOST important! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about them and miss them. Now, when my parents ask me what I want for my birthday or for Christmas, my answer is always “a flight home”.
Sure, technology definitely has bridged the gap for those of us who live far from family. Now a days, you have the option to call, text, FaceTime and stay up to date through Facebook (I can’t imagine how hard it must have been back then when such things didn’t exist). Although these luxuries are wonderful to have, some days it just doesn’t seem sufficient. It isn’t enough. There’s not much I wouldn’t do to have a hug from my mom after a long day, a corny joke from my dad as we share some boiled peanuts, a late night Dairy Queen run with Elizabeth, cruising through town music blaring with Lauren. These small, nameless moments are moments that many people take for granted. For me, these are things that I can’t have whenever I want. Moments that technology can never give me.
So for those of you complaining how much your mom nags you, how grumpy your dad can be, how annoying your siblings are… Just think for a second. Think of the bigger picture. If you are able to see and be with your family whenever you want, you are BLESSED. Never take that time for granted because there are some people who would give anything to be right where you are.