My Photo
Location: United States

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rose Colored Glasses/Family Reunions

Have you ever noticed how you can take a regular photograph and turn it to black and white or tint it to make it appear that it is something it isn't. People love to do this to their photographs and display them for the world to see. Doesn't it seem that they would prefer to portray their loved the true sense?
It does seem more logical.
When given that tiny moment, when the eye meets the photograph and an impression is formed, realism isn't what most people want to portray. That is the reality of it.
While I love "once a year" family reunions, something about them has always bothered me. I've never been able to put my finger on exactly what it was, just carried that sense of something being a little out of place around with me. Yesterday, as I was thinking back over our family reunion this past weekend, the "sense"of something a little unnerving fell from me and landing in clear view for me to observe and analyze. I woke in the middle of the night and it was still there. Today, it has followed me around like a discarded friend, wanting me to acknowledge it, while I only wished for it to go stop revealing itself to me.
It didn't go away.
So now, I face it.
I love getting together with family. It is one of the things that I have built my entire life around. Jeff and I tried to move away when we finished college...thought we were "too good" to live in the insignificant towns that we grew up in. It took us less that a year of traveling back and forth to be with our families to learn that nothing, no place, is insignificant when it holds your families. We needed to live and raise our children around those who shaped us....who would hopefully shape them as well.
Because we made this decision all those years ago, our children's memories are full of time spent with those they love the most....of those who LOVE THEM the most. Their relationships are built on days spent with cousins, playing and sometimes disagreeing with one another....loving each other when the day is over because of the time together and in spite of the fights. Their relationships come from holidays spent together and traditions that happen on a regular basis...shared traditions that will one day intertwine their memories so that they don't even know where to separate one from the other. These are the memories that are carved from days spent at an aunt or grandparent's house... in pajamas or clothes that weren't picked out for a special that weren't visits that turned into sleepovers. These are the family gatherings that leave me feeling like I can breathe easier because I have been myself.....because my children were able to be themselves. Because you know that it won't be the last time in a year that you will see each other, you don't have to pull all of your best stuff forward. You are who you are in that day, weekend, or hour....and when you separate, you still feel the same way for one another. Actually, you feel closer because you have shared your true selves with each are family. Only with your closest family...those who you let into your everyday lives... can you do this.

Looking back on so many family reunions in our past, I now understand what it was that bothered me. It is as if everyone arrives with his own supply of rose colored glasses to hand out. This is how I want you to see me and my family...whatever "bad" stuff is there will not be filtered through these glasses...please don't take them off.
It's like taking your photo album and pulling all of the best shots forward....hiding the less desirable ones behind other pictures and hoping that no one gets too nosy or that none of the "good stuff" slips to the side, revealing the ugliness behind it. However, what others may perceive as ugly, is actually the "real" stuff that makes your family who they are. It's the photograph of your daughter with her tongue stuck out because she didn't want to have the picture taken. It is your 4 year old son running around with mud on his face because he didn't want to slow down long enough to be captured in a 4 x 6 box. It's your teenager acting less than desirable because that's what teenagers do. Only when you put these shots beside those moments when everything fell into place do you get a true sense of the beauty of a family.

These are the things that we try to hide from those who we only have that one opportunity a year to convince who we are. If someone does forget to hand out his rose colored glasses, then he is suddenly viewed as one who awakes in a dream and realizes that he forgot to get dressed. No one will see the face, but only the body that suddenly needs to be covered up so everyone can focus on what really matters...what makes them comfortable. Some people don't like anyone else to show his "bad" photos because then others might start digging too deeply into their own.
Then, there are those who seek to find other's "bad" photos and steal away other's rose colored glasses so that they can draw attention to someone else's faults. By doing this, they are reassured that no one will see their own. These people may not arrive at the reunion with the intent to do this, but it happens.
I don't plan to stop attending our family reunions. I feel that it is important to make contact with as many of our family members as we can, when we can. However, I will no longer be packing my rose colored glasses to hand out, praying that I have enough to go around. I will not try to defend myself, or other close family members who I feel the need to defend, from those who are digging in our "ugly" photographs or attempting to place us in the spotlight in order to hide in our shadows. I will love everyone through it, and in spite of it, and hope that others can do the same. Maybe by sharing some of my hidden photos, others will do the same. These are the things that allow relationships to flourish.
For the rest of the year...those times spent in our real lives....I will continue to cherish all of the family that God has surrounded us with and allowed us to spend our lives with every day. We are so blessed to be able to look back over a year and see that our children have been a part of something so much bigger than the five of us......extended family who they share the every day things of life who love the pictures we may hide from others....who love them without the rose colored glasses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful thoughts, Sherry!


6:50 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Thankyou Motherbird!

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

You're so wise Sherri!

I just love to read your always make me either a) think and reflect or b)!

1:50 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home