Monthly Archives: August 2013

Fear of the Water

I like water. I like water that is very warm, in a Jacuzzi tub, with relaxing music and candlelight. I also like cold water to drink. I don’t mind warmed swimming pools as long as I can touch the bottom. I am not a strong swimmer.
Very recently, my wife and I were invited to a cottage by the water. I thought it was the ocean but it was actually Long Island Sound. We were in southern Connecticut. I have not visited ocean like water many times before. I took my children to the Delaware state beaches about 3 times and maybe visited Maryland beaches a couple of times. Even though I was raised not that far from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, my family did not leave the farm very often. I have never been comfortable around water.
Our hosts at the cottage took us to a private beach. There was only one or two people in the water but lots of people sunning themselves. A child scooped up a jellyfish from the edge of the beach. A responsible adult from the child’s party, ran out to the girl and took the net from her, warning the girl of the danger the jellyfish might pose to her.
Our host dived in and announced that the water was perfect. I built up my courage to approach the shore and move into the water. The water was a bit cool, but what really prevented my entry was the presence of a jellyfish near me, and another about 6 feet beyond that one. A swimmer emerged from the water holding his elbow declaring that he was stung by a little jellyfish. Well, that was more than enough warning for me to stay away from the water.
Am I afraid of the water? Yes. Should I be afraid of the water? Probably not. But this experience certainly did not help me overcome my fears of drowning or injury in the water.
I am glad that so many receive so much enjoyment from frolicking in the water. I enjoy watching them have fun. But as for me, I think I’ll stay on the beach. At least until I build up enough courage to try again.
The cottage was wonderful. Our hosts were wonderful. It was a great weekend. I am thankful that we were invited.

Family

This has been a great summer for family. This next weekend, I will be attending the wedding of my wife’s niece. Yet another joining of families. Family is a very fluid concept. Some people have a very strict idea of what family is or even means. Some hold to the idea of the nuclear family. Family dynamics today take on so many forms. Blended families are becoming more prevalent. Even those without the benefit of marriage, there are still new dynamics and relationships created all the time. There are now stepparents, step-siblings, half-siblings, multi-generational homes, and families comprised of friends surviving together.
Speaking only from my own experiences, I think the hardest part of being a blended family is to realize that it really is a new relationship. But each person brings with them the history of their own. One might come from a home in childhood that was organized, neat, orderly, and emphasized appearance and image. Whereas the another might come from a home in childhood that was cluttered, more relaxed, without much structure. This creates for some very interesting discussions and disagreements. Even in nuclear family situations, parenting and discipline questions arise.
I think another challenge is figuring out where you fit in the family, especially in a newly formed family. In a blended family, you don’t really replace the other parent, but you still have a place in the family. In a traditional Mom, Dad, child family, there is usually no jealously from the Mom when Dad spends time with the child. But when the parent isn’t your own, as in a blended family, jealously can be present. It seems to be built in. It takes a lot of love and patience to create solid relationships, even in biologically related. Whatever your family dynamic, it is important to remember that all persons need attention, affection, appreciation and respect.
During my wedding, we had a unity ceremony to symbolize the combining of two families. As beautiful as the symbolism is, the reality is that it takes hard work, patience and trust to build real relationships. It is sometimes difficult to keep relationships strong with your own children let alone build them with your spouses children, when they are not yours. I think it is worth it.
Family is the one idea that I think we all need to practice. I know that it is so easy to caught up in surviving that we end up isolating ourselves from the world. I find that at the end of my workday, I really just want to relax and rest. I have never been one to plan outings or get-togethers so I appreciate that my wife’s family is good at that. This gives me a chance to interact with other family members and establish better relationships.
Happy family!