A gift from my husband last Christmas was the book "Simple Abundance - A daybook of comfort and joy". It has daily readings and are often very inspirational and thought provoking. I'd like to say I wake every morning, accept my first cup of coffee from my husband, don my reading glasses, because yes they are a necessity, and read the intended morning entry. But alas, I'm somewhere in March's readings and most mornings it's an effort to just FIND my glasses.
Recently the subject is excavating. It's talking about digging deep into your soul and finding/learning who you are, and making it a journey. The journey may not be pleasant as excavations are not a glamorous job. It asks to recall memories of moments in our lives and think about our priorities.
Without doubt, family has always been my biggest priority. Growing up family included grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of our family. It meant special events, weekend get-togethers for card games, picnics, birthdays - and often double the holidays because we'd spend time with both sides. It was mowing for relatives in the summer. Helping Gram with baths when she was unable. It was visiting aunts or uncles 'just because' I was passing in the neighborhood. I didn't know any different.
I left home two weeks after graduation - joined the Navy to see the world. Uncle Bob wrote me religiously. Gram's letters were reassuring. Contact with my cousins lifted my spirits. I spent four years in the San Juaquin Valley of California. It was God's plan for me. I had a great Navy family. And I met my best friend and husband of nearly 3o years.
Our created family has extensions. When we married I was young. I believed we could be one family. It was our priority to teach our children the value of family. I confess I've struggled with my desire to have a united family. I wanted it for my husband. Now I know you can't force something to be when it's not God's plan. I'm stubborn. It took me awhile to accept that which I had no control.
God's priorities for me are a family which included our three beautiful children, their chosen spouses and, for right now, a loving grandson. I'm blessed to have a great friendship with a daughter-in-law who was married to Mike's oldest son (now passed away). We are included in the special events of our (Mike's) oldest grands and now our first great-granddaughter.
We moved away from my home state. At the time it was the best way to provide for our family - which was the priority. Staying when things changed became a family decision. We made it work. Now I find ways to visit my parents and siblings. It means finding the right air fare and sneaking in a day off but always worth the effort. I couldn't imagine my life without making time with them a priority.
I realize my job change this summer also was a priority. I made the decision to accept a position working fewer days, allowing Mike and I to have more time together. It also opens up very special time for our grandson's sleepovers, walks to preschool and visits in the afternoon. Perhaps I should be working - to provide for my future years - but I believe in my heart this is my priority.
Our family has never been limited to bloodlines either. We have many dear friends from our Navy family, who have shared holidays and special events, tears and cheers while apart from our blood family. They certainly are not left out of our priorities now.
As I read my daily entry, I realize our priorities have shifted from newlyweds to parents and now empty-nesters. Admittedly as time slipped by it became more of a necessity to let loose on the reigns of control. Now we are temporarily sharing our not-so-empty nest with our youngest. For the time being, I'll enjoy the brief conversations as he passes through and even try to sneak in an occasional hug.
Priorities. They are what you make of them... and after all these years, my family is still my first priority.