Relationships? What are they? The dictionary describes relationships as: The condition or fact of being related; connection or association. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other.
There are many different kinds of relationships – companionship – rapport – blood relations (family). There are, of course, other kinds of relationships, but these are the most popular.
I’m going to talk about several different kinds of relationships, beginning with parents/children – blood relations - family. I grew up in a large family, the second youngest of six. I had three older brothers and two sisters – one older, one younger. My parents, oldest brother and older sister are gone now, and I still miss them dearly.
We were a close family. Even as adults, we got together often. But back to my youth. I grew up in the 50s. In the summer we went on picnics almost every night when Dad came home from work. Every Sunday, we visited my grandparents. Holidays were special, even when we grew up we got together on Christmas Eve – my brothers and sister and I still do. As adults, my sisters and I took Mom twice a year for an overnighter and shopping trip. Once in the summer to celebrate her birthday and once in December to Christmas shop. We were friends not just mom and sisters. Now don't get me wrong, we had our share of disagreements, arguments and sometimes (when we were much younger) out and out fights. We weren't perfect, afterall. But our parents helped make our childhood memorable.
Of course, I grew up, began to date and met my husband – a different kind of relationship – friend, husband, and lover. My husband and I were properly introduced by my cousin and her boyfriend. Nothing earth shattering, and it wasn't love at first sight. In fact I was kind of afraid of him. He looked like a tough kid. You remember the kind, low slung jeans, tee shirt with his sleeve rolled up with a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes stuck inside (think Fonzie from Happy Days). I still can't figure out how they stayed in the shirt sleeve that way. But actually, he was quiet and shy and so very sweet. He had just bought a 1957 chevy convertible. I think I fell in love with the car at first sight. We soon became friends and, of course, eventually fell in love. Ah the joys of dating, going to the drive in, on picnics and parties with friends, movies and walks in parks. Time shared between just the two of us. We got married in November 1962.
Our first child, a daughter, arrived in March,1964. What a thrill. I held this tiny little baby in my arms and love overwhelmed me.I thought my heart would burst. She was ours, an extension of us. A product of our love. A new relationship began - between mother and daughter. I’ll be honest; it’s not always been easy. My oldest daughter is very much like me, and we often butted heads (still do sometimes). In 1965 and 1967 her sisters joined our family. I wouldn’t have believed children could be so different if I hadn’t had these three girls. Not only are they different in looks -blond, brunette, and redhead, they had very different personalities. We share different types of relationships because they’re individual personalities. Yet we share a sisters/mother relationship and often get together to shop or have lunch together, just the three of us.
And then I had my first son in 1969. No one ever told me the feeling for your son would be so different. No, I don’t mean I love him more, but it’s a different than your daughter. His brothers joined our family in 1971 and 1973. Our family was complete. If I thought the girls were different personalities, my sons were just the opposite. Oh, they were each their own person, but not only did they look alike -all blonds- they had a bond between them that the girls didn’t have. They still do. The boys often had me in stitches. I’m not sure what it is, but with just a look they melted my anger. Not good when you're tyring to discipline them. And they still manage to make me laugh when I’m in a bad mood. I told all my daughters and daughters in law –“Every mother should have a son.” It’s truly a different experience, not better, not worse, just different.
I raised my children pretty much like my parents raised me. I say I, because my husband was a truck driver and on the road a lot. That pretty much left the discipline to me. Not that I minded, I was very strict but very protective of them. I could yell or spank, but if my husband did, not only did it break my heart, it made me angry. How dare he yell at my kids?
They’re grown now and married, which brings me to another relationship – mother in law. I love my daughters and sons in law like my own. I treat them like my own. I yell at them, give advice and enjoy their company. I like to think we have a good relationship.
And they had children – a new relationship began- grandparents. If I thought I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I loved my children – well, I was wrong. The day my first granddaughter was born, I thought I’d burst with love and pride. I felt the same way with each grandchild – I won’t bore you with details of all 14 of their births, but suffice to say when my 14th and final grandchild was born August 30th, the feeling still overwhelmed me. I look at each of these precious gifts from God and feel so blessed.
To top it all off – last year, I was blessed with my first great grandson. I looked at my granddaughter, now a young woman, and remembered the feeling of pride when I saw her the first time. Now here she was with a child of her own, and I couldn’t contain my tears. I’m so thrilled to be a part of his life. I pray I’m around to see all my grandchildren grown with children of their own.
So…what are relationships? They’re many things, each special in their own right. And although there have been many peaks and valleys, I've been very blessed in my relationships. They are truly a gift from God
If you’d like to know more about me check out my website – www.roseannedowell.com
or my blog: http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com