The other week I was at school talking with a friend when scrapbooking came up. “Oh, I haven’t done any scrapbooking since 2010,” she told me. I replied, “Ha, yeah, I don’t think I’ve done any since my junior year of high school…maybe a little before graduation.” Instead of leaving it there as a shared procrastination bond, she one-upped me, “But you don’t have a family.”
I know what she meant. I am not raising babies who will some day long to know their history and have their memories captured, but it got me to thinking about who my family is. My immediate and extended family are obvious. My interaction with them (sometimes more than others because of life and proximity) is vital for support and love. The Biblical definition of family being brothers and sisters in Christ also suits me. My community in church particularly resonates. I’ve got people pouring into my life, and I into theirs, and it’s great!
Last night was our school carnival. I was signed up to man the “football toss” booth, which I was not all that excited for (we “carnies” like to have some skill in our areas of work, right?), but the former-PE-teacher guidance counselor offered to switch me, as he’d been put in the Limbo room. That was a great idea and I worked with a bunch of kids and families (my oldest limbo-er was probably a retiree) while the limbo song played on repeat.
I beheld some really sweet family interaction. When the kids get to school on a regular day, we see their interactions with peers and their personalities tend to be pretty much within a limited range of predictable behavior and attitude. In their families on a fun night, though, it’s markedly different. I think we need to have more of these community/family nights with students for the sake of perspective. I realized that Miss Attitude and Mr. Can’t Sit Still (names changed for the protection of the children…oh wait, these are just general examples!) have very tender hearts toward their siblings (helping them through the limbo, for example), generous spirits (sharing prizes, snacks, etc.), and that their energy can be used for good – relational exuberance with parents and friends. Seeing the older kids go through the station with their little siblings was awesome too. I saw a couple former students who were so good with the little kids. And the students who were so excited to see me and introduce me to their families, which restores my confidence that no matter how I feel about my productivity at work, lives are intersecting with mine enough to know that I care for them.
I am surrounded by family, really. And that’s a good feeling. I might not scrapbook it, but not because it isn’t around. Because I really just hate scrapbooking.