For those of you who aren’t aware, much of Texas has been “closed” for the last few days as we’ve had record low temperatures combined with a nice mix of icy rain and snow. Our residents and city infrastructure, well able to handle the high heat and humidity of summer, are ill-equipped to cope with icy roads and freezing water pipes. Give us mosquitoes the size of dragonflies and air thick enough to stop your breath – no problem. But temperatures in the 20s for more than 24 hours? Nope. Just nope.
Because of that, for the last few days we’ve been stuck inside just trying to stay warm and not go crazy. There have been lots of board games, movie marathons, a memorable episode of skype charades with out-of-town cousins, and the constant pleas for snacks by four bored children.
During our 17,000,000th game of Settlers of Catan (a strategy game) today, I realized that there is one thing I really hope my kids leave home with when that day finally comes – which I know will be sooner than I would like!
Family should always have each other’s back.
The oldest two girls and I were playing the game while their dad entertained the 5 year old with a hilarious game of Barbies. What kind of Ken loses his boat license because of an unfortunate incident between a trash can and a raccoon? (Apparently a Ken that is played by my husband).
As we were playing Catan, my two oldest decided they were “enemies.” They worked to sabotage each other’s strategies, and constantly refused to help or trade with one another. They weren’t fighting or bickering, they just seemed to enjoy getting in each other’s way.
In fact, they were so focused on making sure that the other sister lost, that they completely missed it when I snuck up and won with three points to spare.
After cackling about my win (yes, we’re one of those families) I got to thinking about how my girls were so intent on stopping each other from winning, that they were oblivious to the fact that I was coming up behind them.
How often in life do I do that? How often do I focus on what other people are doing or being or achieving that I don’t see the opportunities or challenges that are right in front of me? How often do I compare what I am doing with what a friend, stranger or even family member is doing, and think I need to compete? And how often do I look at my family members as competitors rather than partners?
I don’t want that for my kids.
I don’t want them to look at each other as negative competition or a duty on family reunion weekends.
I want them to know, absolutely, that they can always count on their family. I want them to know that if no one else is on their side, their family will stand up for them. If no one else wants to help them, their family will be there. If no one else will listen, understand or answer truthfully, their family will be encouraging, honest and open.
They don’t always have to agree on everything. In fact, that would be pretty weird and annoying if they did. They don’t have to think every decision their siblings make is right and perfect. They don’t even have to always get along.
However, I want them to know that their family isn’t going anywhere. I want them to know it intellectually at ages 8 and 11, but viscerally at 22 and 25. I want them to call each other to vent and laugh. I want them to drop what they’re doing and travel three hours at 2:00 in the morning if they get the call. I want them to help each other move apartments, love each other’s kids and pray fervently for one another.
I want them to have each other’s back.
(Except when they’re playing Catan against their mom).