Thursday, April 19, 2012

As Different as Mustard and Aqua Velva

         The refrigerator in Sunny and Patrick’s house is buried in photographs and wonderful thoughts.  Family is very important to them and they are on display at all times.
          Children’s art work decorates the walls above the dining room table and there are portraits upon the piano.  The house is decorated nicely, and the feel is one of warmth and love.  It is inviting.  It says that their children are important and family matters.  It is welcoming and full of joy and positive self-esteem.

          Grandma also keeps photographs and art work.  Her refrigerator is covered with magnets that hold up treasured memories.  There are pictures in every room showing off her grandkids, her children, their spouses, etc.  It says that her posterity is important and it is good for our self-esteem.

          Kayla and I both live in Cracker Box houses.  We both have more stuff than we do space.  And though we’ve had different family members over at different times, neither one of us is equipped for having the whole family over. It would be like trying to cram 15 of us in a walk in closet or as comfortable as eight people stuffed in a Volks Wagon bug for 25 miles.

          But still we have the comforts of our family in photographs – and display our posterity in a positive way.  Anna likes to move the magnets around on the refrigerator and Jenna likes to hang her art.  And I have scanned many of her drawings and crafts since she was three. 

          We’re a bit cluttered at times.  Actually more clutter than I would like.  It’s livable.  Our children know they’re important. 

          We have barbeques on occasion.  We have done other family activities as well.  We keep in contact through e-mail, through phone, in person.  We are a close knit family.  We are in my opinion.  But every family is different.

          Recently we visited with Roland’s family.  He has three sisters and a brother.  All three sisters are older.  His mom happens to live with the youngest of the three girls.
I had been to her house before.  Each time we’ve gone it seems to have been redecorated.  This year the display was showcased to perfection.  Tons of candles and pottery and decorative STUFF – nothing personal about it.  It was how you’d want your home to look to potential buyers.  It was how you would want it to look for the media.  It was sterile.
She used to have photographs upstairs and along the hall.  But they got moved – pushed back on some shelves in the corner.  You would have to literally move the desk and each picture in order to view them all.  No kids’ art.  NOTHING on the refrigerator.  Nothing seemed inviting – to me anyway.  It was all material.

They have five adults living under one roof (plus two children; and constant visits from their three grandchildren and their parents) and have five TVs (at least two of them are on 24-7 whether they are even being watched or not – usually not) and at least four or five computers (none of them updated however.  That’s a surprise – but then they really don’t spend that much time on it; I would guess the kids do more than anyone else)

And yet I know they love their family members.  (We’d gone to another state for mom’s surprise party – and our room and gas were all paid for before we had even arrived) and spend huge amounts of time together.  But there is no memorabilia.  Nothing that stands out to build self esteem.  And I wonder how much of a difference it would even make to them.

They love to dance.  They love to party.  They love to drink.  They don’t much care for religion.  If they want a message, they can watch the evangelists on TV. 
To say our families are as different as day and night would not only be cliché – our families are more drastically different than I think night and day are.
They love and admire our boys.  Richard’s done well at bringing them up, they say.  Richard tries to explain that it’s not solely just himself but the values taught in the gospel.  They don’t want to hear it.

Their understanding is that God knows them.  They’re not out killing anybody.  They are decent human beings.  They’ve got it made just fine without religion.
My family members are active and hold church callings and are dedicated – not just on Sunday, but every day.  Three hours is too long for Richard’s family – and to extend it to the entire week?  Uh –uh. 

They are good people.  Just an entire different comfort zone – for them.  But Not for me.  I like the photographs and the religious values and spending time with family without booze.  I’m certain that they would be just as uncomfortable in my world.

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