In Our House

Relationships can be tough but somehow we get through it, together

Original artwork, myself and amberleigh storms

There’s a tree directly blocking the view of the pond from our screen porch. I’m unsure of what type of tree it is but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that each year once the cold air fades and the sun stays up late in the sky, the tree itself makes magic happen.

What makes this tree the most magnificent I’ve ever seen is the thousands of beautiful (and poisonous) white flowers that bloom in the spring. Within a few days leaf buds spurt, forcing the flowers to rain their petals onto the grass where the wind will carry them away.

The tree has been struck by lightening multiple times. It wears each singed vein as a part of its history, telling a story from one storm or another. Limbs that were sacrificed to Mother Nature’s wrath left large gaping holes between branches. I stand beneath its canopy as the sun breaks through and shines down on me.

Regardless of the beating its taken, the tree stands solid and every year new branches poke out here and there. It continues to grow nonetheless, even with many factors working against it. It’s inspiring.

I view this tree as a metaphor for our family. I didn’t realize it at first, though. It took years of watching it do its thing. The damage hasn’t stopped it’s growth nor has it scarred its beauty.

Then I thought, how ironic is it that this tree was planted decades before it became our house? I wonder if the last family who owned it experienced the same thing?

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve wanted to scream at every family member in our household. I mean, nobody is perfect (not you, or me) and the truth is our imperfections get on each other’s nerves. It’s impossible not to.

I’ve been a wife and mother long enough to know I have zero chance of changing someone else’s behavior and 100% chance of changing my own.

My husband doesn’t seem to be annoyed with hearing the word mom 4,000 times a day nor is he bothered by the mountains of dirty laundry that make up the laundry room landscape. I don’t care if our daughter gets acrylic paint on the furniture or that our son took the mop handle and carved it into a spear, but it drives my husband nuts.

These things are mere ‘cause and effect’ because I love everyone in my family. It’s not looked past or ignored. It’s accepted without passing judgement, even when we aren’t getting along.

Not to mention, space is important for every type of relationship. The most valuable gift I receive from my relationships with family members is that we learn from one another. However, we need time alone to reflect and process our experiences as individuals, in order for us to continue to cultivate in our own role as a family member and as people, in general.

I believe the internet has taken away any genuine personal space. As a society we talk about how cellphones are addictive and refer to it as a “legit” disease but here’s the thing, our children are iGen age and for their generation it isn’t an addiction, it’s a way of life. They were born connected to the internet and if we want them to understand the meaning of a clear mind then we need to teach it to them.

IRL fact-if you put five different personalities in a room together for an extensive period of time eventually it’ll erupt, most likely caused by pet peeves. This is normal for a family, I think.

We still love each other very much, in spite of ourselves.

In our house we get angry at one another and frustrated with each other. Sometimes we squabble, and when we’re massively pissed we promise ourselves we’re NEVER speaking to the other EVER again, only to wake up the next morning still best friends.

We go outside and scream to the Gods, then come back inside and handle ourselves with tact. This is what we’ve taught our children.

In our house we encourage each other to vocalize our emotions. We’re able to say we “feel this way because of that” or “we feel that way because of this” and it doesn’t always fit together like puzzle pieces considering all of our potentially annoying habits. We do the best we can.

Our roots (and love) run deep but also, I’m sorry you and your brother had an argument. “What can we do to get it worked out?”

In our house relationships can be tough but somehow we get through it, together.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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