Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dancing With Skeletons

It's Wild Ride Wednesday. When I'm gone, I'll be leaving behind a messy legacy...and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm gonna dance with all the skeletons in the closet!

My life is messy, and I like it that way.

Several years ago a friend of mine was lamenting about the different girls his son had dated. There was a huge difference, he noted, between the young ladies who came from intact families, and the ones who grew up in broken homes. The girls whose parents were still married were decidedly more stable, and my friend hoped that just such a young woman would end up being the mother of his grandchildren.

I was a bit offended by that generalization. I’m the product of a broken home AND I’m divorced, and I’m fabulous!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pedigrees and family legacies. Like most kids, I wished and prayed for my parents to stay together. However, as I grew and matured I came to understand that mom and dad were healthier people apart from one another then they might have been if they’d stayed in a bad marriage.

People brag about their family legacies. I know people who come from a long line of doctors or teachers or artists. They wave the branches of their family trees with honor and pride.

Many of my friends are Christians. Christian legacies are very important. It’s not unusual to meet pastors whose parents and grandparents were pastors, or couples whose families haven’t seen a divorce since the turn of the last century.

I also know many people who are ashamed of some of the nuts growing on their family tree. They sweep the dirt of their kinfolk under the heirloom rug and bury ugly skeletons deep in the basement closet. They don’t talk about the uncle who once spent time in prison, the crazy cousin who’s been divorced three times, or the brother that doesn’t spend holidays with the folks.

My own father didn’t know his dad had been married to another woman before his mom until he was in his mid-twenties. That was a well-kept family secret.

I’ll be leaving a messy family legacy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! My parent’s marriage wasn’t perfect, and I thank God. If it had been, I wouldn’t have a beautiful little sister named Megan. My husband’s mom and dad both said “I do” more than once. Although Tom was the only child born of his parent’s union, he now has eight brothers and sisters—all wonderful and incredible people. We’re so lucky.

I divorced my oldest son’s dad after he walked out more than 25 years ago, but we are blessed to have my ex’s family in our lives. My kids have made bad choices and they’ve taken us on a wild ride, but oh, the incredible people we’ve met along the way! I’m so grateful for the counselors, parole officers, wayward kids, and parents of prodigals who’ve inspired and loved us. My life is better because of each and every one of you.

Yep, my life is messy. Our family isn’t perfect. We’ve stumbled along the way and we’ve got skeletons in our closet. Unlike some of you, however, we bring our skeletons out to play. We dance and rejoice with them as we remember where we’ve been, appreciate where we are, and look forward to the good days yet to come.

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