Why Can’t My Family Be The Picture Perfect One I Imagined?

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When my babies were little, I used to imagine my family’s future together. A perfect family scene. 

I could see our smiling faces seated around our kitchen table every night for dinner.

I could see us laughing as we told funny stories about our days at work and school.

Then I could see us spending carefree days on family vacations as we toured the country, explored the world, and had fun playing at beaches and amusement parks.

perfect family at the park

And I could see us managing conflict with ease. My background as a therapist and teacher and my husband’s background as a teacher and manager would surely mean we would nail it as parents.

I could see us–a perfect family.

I thought about that perfect family a lot recently.

It was nowhere to be found.

I couldn’t see it.

Yet people could see us as we stood in the 90-degree sweltering sun, waiting in a ridiculously long line for a terrifying amusement park ride that would probably leave me nauseous.

People could see us arguing with each other as the dehydration and exhaustion began to creep in.

They could see us communicating with each other via dagger glares, willing each other to say the right thing.

And they could see us gritting our teeth and turning away from each other, too frustrated to say anything more.

This was not the perfect family I had imagined.

And for a little while, right there in the middle of an amusement park, I almost cried.

Where did I go wrong?

How is our reality one that includes sometimes yelling at each other, cussing, and even stomping away angrily?

Why can’t we be that picture perfect family I had imagined?

Then I watched my family apologize to each other, take ownership for our actions, recognize where we went wrong, strategize ways to not let it happen again, and then move on.

I watched my family have fun later that day even while standing in the hot sun and waiting two hours for a thrill ride.

I watched my family joke lovingly with each other and create moments we will always remember.

And I watched my family go back to the hotel pool and play a game for an hour, laughing and reminiscing about the good parts of the day.

That night as we all hugged and said goodnight, my family reminded me that perfection is a myth, especially when it comes to parenting and being in a family.

I could finally see that our beauty as a family does not come from our moments of fake perfection. It comes from our flaws, our struggles, our mistakes, and our pain.

Because out of those moments comes deeper connection, real growth, meaningful insight, and everlasting bonds.

And that was more than I ever could have imagined.

*This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page and is shared with permission. See the original here.

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