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The Anti-Harried Wives Club: Family Is Not About Blood

alec vanderboom

I'm paraphrasing Jesus here, but he says "Who is my mother? My Brothers? My kin? My Mother, My Brother, My Sister is whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven!"

Blood does not make a family! Family is about a spiritual connection formed by doing the Will of God. Occasionally, blood and grace co-exist in a beautiful harmony. For example, think of the Martin Family (the family of the Little Flower) -- where the Mother, the Father and the youngest Child are all recognized Catholic Saints.

For most of us, that is not the spiritual reality of our families of origin or our in-laws. The world being what it is today, its going to be uncommon to have a Martin like experience at the Thanksgiving table tomorrow.

That's why, I can't take those digs at my life personally. Of course, no one in my extended family is going to think that it's a good idea for me to stay home another year, keep homeschooling, avoid overcommitment in sports, have another baby, or avoid spending too much money on Black Friday sales. My little Catholic life doesn't not make sense on a rational level.

Again, women can fight dirty. It's the verbal jabs at my parenting, my messy hair, my imperfect behaving children, and my overweight child producing body that really hurt. Seriously, sometimes I think actual fist fights around the Thanksgiving table would be better. A black eye seems an easier injury to nurse afterwards than the vague "emotional flu" that can sometimes follow me for days after a tense Holiday gathering.

I am Christ's little Sister, however. He gets hit, I'm going to get hit. When I think about how much I love him, it gets easier. I'm less "harried" at big family gatherings.