Kristin - vienna, Virginia
Entered on October 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that family is what you make of it. I believe that the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence, but that the grass below your feet is beautiful in its own right. Most importantly, I believe that I am blessed.

Six years ago, when I was 17 years old, my parents got divorced. This is where one might expect me to side with one of my parents or badmouth another, but I will not. I do not try to place blame or fault, that is not my place. You see, I am one of the lucky ones. I have two parents, both alive and healthy, and both very loving and supportive of me. My mother is my best friend, my other half. I talk to her every single day, and she knows absolutely everything about every aspect of my life. Her simple presence is all that is needed bring me harmony. She is one of the best listeners I have ever met, and she knows when to be my friend or to be my mother, switching between the roles with effortless elegance. My father is my rock, he is my support, and my hero. I would never be the person I am without him. He is the most selfless person I have ever met. Years of countless experiences have given him the wisdom to shape my life in ways that he doesn’t even realize.

Don’t get me wrong, I easily could place blame after overhearing countless hours of yelling and arguing for the better part of my childhood. And I could be angered with God or fate, for missing the simple things in life, like holidays together, or introducing my friends to both parents, or telling a story about my day only once, or visits home without scheduled timelines at each house, or a birthday, graduation, and my wedding uncomplicated by avoidance.

But how would placing blame change the situation? It wouldn’t, it would change me. I believe I would lose the ability to see people for who they really are, and simply be blinded by hate.

I have a picture in my head of a perfect family, on Christmas. It is ONE home, a house full of love, family and togetherness. Opening Christmas presents and eating dinner together. This simple vision would be my dream. But it is only a dream. I live in reality. And in reality, there are families with one parent, or no parents; there are parents that can barely put food on the table working 3 jobs, and children that go to bed hungry; there are drugs, abuse, apathy, and silent disappointment.

So what do I believe? I believe that I am lucky. I believe in appreciating all the good that I have in my life. I believe in making the most of what was given to me, and loving the family that I have, for all our flaws. If I look around, it is the flaws the teach me perspective. And perspective: that is the key.