My family is a constant source of... well... a mix of love and frustration and joy and every other feeling in the book. Sometimes I feel totally isolated, and sometimes I feel completely loved.
I was playing with my family yesterday and suddenly had arms around my neck - someone had climbed on my back. I assumed that I knew who it was, but after about five minutes, I realized that I had no idea who I was carrying - whether family or total stranger.
Trying to turn my head to identify the culprit didn't work. He leaned far to the opposite side each time I turned my head, and was fast enough that I couldn't figure out who it was. And he knew it. Each successful dodge set off a set of giggles until I finally grabbed both of his arms and pulled him over my head to see who it was.
It wasn't who I had thought it was. This kid didn't even know me. And yet he was there beaming with a huge smile... just like the little kid I saw on the bus a few weeks ago. And his smile, and unconditional love, made me feel honestly happy. So I beamed a smile back.
Sometimes I wish that my family (other than just my parents) knew about the trials I face. I wish they could understand what goes through my mind and could see the battles I fight. And sometimes I realize that they don't have to know. The little boy didn't need to know to brighten my day. No one really has to know... because if you truly love someone, you'll always give them everything.
And I realize, as I look around my own family, that each of them struggles with internal conflict as I have. Different? Definitely. But just as difficult - hard enough to take you to the end of your limit and then push you beyond. Together we can make it. Someday I'll have a family of my own. And I know that families can be forever.
(And a news update for those patient enough to read to the end. Launch is tomorrow.)