I know I’ve probably mentioned this ten billion times before, but one of Dave and my favorite quotes is “You’ll find what you’re looking for.”
Whether bad or good, you can find it. In anyone. In anything.
This comes up on a continual basis. With parenting, with each other, with life in general.
And I thought about it again last night as my book club friends and I discussed this latest book called Everything Beautiful in its Time:
It’s not poetic or a literary wonder, but it is a beautiful memoir of a family and the love they have for each other. I was especially drawn to it because I’ve been thinking about how important family records are…family history. We’ve been studying that in Come Follow Me…knowing our families, turning our hearts. We all have such different stories and we can learn so much from one another.
I thought it was so interesting to hear the back stories of Jenna Bush Hager’s parents and grandparents. And to think about the act of creating a family. Her two sets of grandparents were both so different, but wonderful in their own ways. And those “ways” were merged to create her immediate family. And she is in turn creating her own new family. It spurred a conversation about how many families have a strong family culture. Is it rare? Is it common? Is Jenna’s family culture really as wonderful as it seems, or did she “find what she was looking for?” (I’m sure it was/is an amazing family, it sounds like it was filled with love, and I believe that’s the bottom line for any family.) But for discussion sake, could a child from the same family have a completely different outlook on how the family culture went?
It made me think about how I will look back on the family culture Dave and I are creating some day. Do my children know how deeply I love them like Jenna knew her “gammy” loved her? Do they feel that same unconditional love? What’s the right balance between stern and adoring? Will my own children find the good and forgive me all my mistakes? Or will I be sitting in a counseling room some day trying to untangle a web of frustration I have somehow inadvertently woven? Abby told me a story the other day about two men raised by an alcoholic. One was wildly successful and happy, the other was broken and sorrowful. They both attributed/blamed their alcoholic father for the way they turned out: one decided to turn his life into something wonderful despite his upbringing. The other chose to let that parenting fail him. They each “found what they were looking for.” Just so interesting to think about to me.
We talked about how some grandparents (and parents) are trickier to love and some have love just oozing right out of them.
Is it the responsibility of the parents to help their children “find the good,” even in more difficult grandparents? To give the benefit of the doubt? Everyone is coming from such different backgrounds, such different upbringings themselves. Do we find what we’re looking for in them?
I’m out of time, but wanted to throw those thoughts out there. Would love to hear your thoughts if you can make sense of the jumble of those random questions:)
So grateful I don’t have to search to hard to “find what I’m looking for” in my parents. And Dave’s too. And our grandparents. And thankful this book made me think and be more grateful than ever for the legacy they have created.