My family and home are everything to me. My family define who I am as a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, mother-in-law, step-mother and aunty. None of us has just one role to play and often it requires flexibility and grace to navigate these waters with any sort of confidence and direction. Having a stable home life can make for smooth sailing, but it's not a certainty. Anything can happen at any time. But I always believe that if the home is secure and warm, where all the family members feel comfortable, they know there is always a safe haven for them, not only from the harshness of the outside world but also from the judgements that seem to come uncalled in these modern times.
There is never one way to be a family. There is no one size fits all philosophy for how a family should work. Over the years there will be turbulent periods and times of peace and calm. You have to be ready for it all.
My son Shane, teaching his son Alex how to make a cake.
My way of dealing with the complexities of family life is to try to be the best role model I can be. I try to accept people as they are, and the expectations I have tend to be focused on my own behaviour rather than on those around me. I do expect my family to live according to our collective values but I also take into account the changing circumstances that sometimes don't allow that to happen. And I'm acutely aware that as our family ages, some of the values that Hanno and I hold close will change and will be replaced by those of those coming after us. All those values are influenced by the times we live in, the influence of our extended families and by the thoughts and hopes of our younger generation. By the time we reach the lofty heights of grandparenthood, we have to let go and hope that all that has been taught is inherent, and we watch from the sidelines to see how it all plays out. Always without judgement and often with pride.
I think we are a strong family and much of that comes from our family culture of support and encouragement. We are not perfect and not trying to be but we like and respect each other, we spend time together and you can see the ties that bind us are stable and secure.
We have another family function coming up this week and there will be ten of us there. Sunny called us together this time because next week she'll start her sushi business and she wants us to get together before that happens. We also have three birthdays to celebrate - Hanno will be 74 on Friday, Sarndra's birthday is a few days after that, and Sunny's a few days after that. This will be the only time we can get together, so we'll take the opportunity to celebrate all the birthdays as well as our 35th wedding anniversary, which is on 28 September. We don't need separate occasions to celebrate, this one will do us just fine. The important thing is to be there with each other, to see each other face to face and not with a screen between us. Touching, hugging, holding the kids and talking to each other means a lot. Families rarely survive without that.
My sister Tricia, planning her sewing at our kitchen table.
In the grand scheme of things, our family is but one of many, a part of a wider mosaic of ordinary Australian life. We are what we are: a working family focused on today and the future while working for, and hoping for, the best. We're like a painting that we all helped create and as we added dabs of colour over the years, and stood back to critique those dabs, the painting kept evolving and becoming what it is. We are a work in progress that now has a life of its own. ♥︎