It's My Family's Fault That I'm Crazy
Family Dynamics. Hoo doogie. I've got those for miles and miles. As a matter of fact, everyone does. I sat here and stared at a blank page for almost an hour before I decided what approach to take with this post. I have got one wacky, all-over-the-place family (but in the best way) and well, even five posts wouldn't do our dynamics justice. So I did what any writer's blocked writer would do in my shoes.
I googled it. I googled "family dynamics".
Do you know what I learned? That the family dynamic is simply described as the way family members relate to each other.
Interestingly enough, that is different for every single person in my family. With each person I have my own rapport, my own way of relating. So here is a quick rundown of the things that my various family members have taught me and the way that I relate to them. As I sat down to write this, I realized that I am essentially a sum of all of these pieces and parts. It's their fault that I'm crazy. But I like me just like I am. So thanks, family. You rock.
My mom. My Mom and I relate with humor and wit - we joke back and forth and can really make almost anything seem funny. My mom taught me that everything in life is negotiable, and likes to remind me "You're Erika Lehmann, dammit. Don't these people know that?". She is famous for the saying "If you act like you belong, then you will." My mom always told me that I didn't need a man to be complete, and to look within myself to find what I need. My mom has given me confidence to be exactly who I am without ever feeling like I needed to apologize for that.
My dad. My dad, whether he knows it or not, has shown me the value of being a guy's girl. My dad and I like picking apart the process by which things work - which, interestingly enough, often leads us to rather deep philosophical conversations. Also of note, I may or may not have called my father back in May and said "Is the world really going to end this weekend?" I trust my dad to protect me, but tell me the truth. He does both equally well.
My stepmom, Shel. My mom gets somewhat offended when I call Shel for cooking advice, but well, Shel is a gourmet like no one else i know. She is creative in the kitchen and Lord knows I'm not. She has taught me some basic cooking skills, but also a lot of life skills. I relate to Shel much like I do a friend, which is really nice. She has also shown me that someone doesn't have to be your blood to love them like they are. She teaches my little one about bugs, and plants, and all of the not-so-girly stuff that I know nothing about. I'm totally ok with that.
My stepmom, Betty. Betty is the epitome of a real southern woman. She and I became much closer after my daughter was born, because I could see just how much she loved her. In that moment I stopped feeling like she was my dad's wife and started feeling like she was one of my parents. I'm so thankful for that. I'm also thankful to her for teaching me how to treat a man (while my mom taught me that I didn't need one - I wanted one anyway.) and take care of him. She taught me a lot about what it means to be a wife and a mother.
My grandmother, Sylvia. I used to laugh at all of my grandmother's words of wisdom, because she is certainly armed with a lot of it. Men like women with long hair. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Play hard to get. It takes one to get over another one. Most of her advice revolves around relationships, but you know what? It's some of the best advice I've ever gotten, and I've shared it many times over with other friends. Also, my grandmother taught me just how far charm can take me. That woman can make friends with a wall, and I love her for it.
My grandfather, Eddie. They say that my grandfather never smiled until I was born. Now I think he just keeps up his grumpiness as a charade, because when the man is around his grandchildren, or great grandchildren, he can't stop smiling. He is fiercely protective of his family, and has taught me just how rewarding a smile and a chuckle can be. He is one of the most amazing men that I know.
My grandmother, Ann. My granny and I share a passion for all things artistic. I dare say that out of her six grandchildren, I am the most like her. She is artsy, and often in her own world, but she would also give you the world. She is gentle and sweet, and has a unique view on life. She taught me that it's ok to dream, and to dream big.
I want to hear about your family dynamic. How has it shaped who you are today? Also, be sure to tune into Against the Wall on Lifetime for more interesting family dynamics!
And to help with the mother-daughter bonding, enter the Against the Wall Sweepstakes and you could win $5,000 for a spa getaway trip for you and your mom!