A few summers back I took my kids to northern Idaho.
On my bucket list (not necessarily by kids) was the Hiawatha Bike Trail. It’s a 15 mile trail that is on an old rail road path.
The trail takes you through many tunnels of varying lengths and over many trestle bridges.
The very first tunnel is just over a mile and a half long. It is very dark and damp with abrupt edged gutters on each side.
At the end of the trail, you can board a bus and get shuttled back to your cars. However, vehicles cannot go through the first long tunnel, so you are dropped off and then you ride back through the long “scary” tunnel.
As I said, this was something I wanted to do for some time, my kids, not so much; but they were willing participants.
And like most things, how we imagine them going and the actual events were very different.
Rattling bikes, very dark tunnels, a fearful child, getting separated, children not following the signs, arguing, taking much longer then we thought, our headlamps not being nearly bright enough; the list of unanticipated, actual events, could go on and on.
Likewise, we all have an ideal image of what “family” should look like, but as with our bike adventure, our ideal is seldom, if ever reality.
Married, single, divorced, wayward children or spouse, arguing…the list goes on and on.
We don’t always know what life is going to bring
But this we know for sure. One of my favorite primary children songs says, “God gave us families to help us become what he want’s us to be.”
Families, however they look, are our greatest teacher.
I like to see this life as my university experience. I sign up for the classes I need to get the degree I want. Some classes I enjoy better than others. Some are just miserable and some are tolerable.
Family life is exactly the same way. It is a little “university” helping us to get the degree that will help us be our best selves.
We learn things about ourselves and relationships that would be hard to learn anywhere else.
Your family is different from other families. Don’t compare and let it bother you.
Learn from it.
Because no matter what your family looks like, it is YOUR FAMILY! And it is going to be perfect for you no matter how hard or difficult it may be at times.