We are doing better, due to lots and lots of help – some we paid for, but most came from family and friends.
Yesterday as we walked together for the first time as a family, outside, with Jay in the carriage, I said to Char:
I think I’m learning to appreciate family relations more as I grow older. Because when I was younger and had everything or so it seemed and wanted to be independent I disliked family occasions especially because they were boring. I was opinionated and didn’t like the opinions of others.
As I grew older I saw that even the most opinionated different-valued family member usually wanted to contribute. Sometimes it’s a loan, sometimes it’s looking after children, sometimes it is helping to fix something in the house, etc. Usually they do this because they are family. In most cases this is what it is like in all families.
There is a will to contribute. You just need to need the help, to ask for it, and, of course, to want to receive and appreciate this quality from your family and put aside your other opinions for a moment.
Does it matter that my father is very much opposed to me in politics if he volunteers (at age 70) to travel 200 miles by car to stay with us for 3 days to build a mega-cupboard for our new family’s clothes?
It would matter if it was only for convenience that you accepted help and then still obsessed about his political views and still disrespected him for it.
But it’s been a long time since it’s been like that. Now I love this quality of my father, and others for their qualities – of wanting to contribute.
I give a damn about the rest, yes – our differences. But I think those differences become more tolerable if you learn to appreciate the connections and the beauty of people’s desire to contribute in any way the can. Don’t just zoom in on what sets you apart.
That perspective is – or should be – another benefit of age.