Which is your favourite?
“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy, or more exasperated, or more secure.” – Jim Butcher
Family. You gotta love em, even if they sometimes drive you crazy. Because through thick or thin, highs and lows, they are always there, journeying through life with you.
And your role in a family is constantly evolving. As Shakespeare said “One man in his time plays many parts”. From child and sibling, to husband/wife, to parent or aunty/uncle, to the grand finale as grandparent. Each role has its delights and its challenges.
So, to celebrate our first personalised, poetry print “The Family Bus”, I thought it was a fitting time to take a playful look at 5 of the BEST roles we may play on our family journey through life.
THE ROLE OF THE CHILD & SIBLING
Much as it would be lovely to be part of a fairy family, we do start our human family journey in a magical way – as a small child discovering a wondrous world through open eyes.
We are the centre of attention. All our needs are catered for – all we have to do is make a loud noise and generally someone will leap to attention and soothe us or calm us down.
Perfect if you’re an only child.
However, you may have to navigate the brother(s) or sister(s):-
“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.” — Sam Levenson
What is it about siblings that can bring out the worst in us? I grew up with 3 big brothers – yep, 3 big brothers who liked to mercilessly tease, taunt and tickle their little sister.
How they infuriated me! But being the only girl did have its advantages and thankfully my mum would nearly always take my side.😁
So it wasn’t ALL bad…
In fact siblings can be quite entertaining:-
“The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose.” – Garrison Keillor
And as we get older, whether you’re close to your siblings or not, your shared childhood together as a family unit will always be a unique bond between you. (If you need more convincing then do check out the “24 Reasons To Be Glad You Have a Sibling”)
So that is our first experience of family. But it doesn’t last. We all grow up and move on. Some of us navigate life by ourselves, but many of us move into the next family role…
THE ROLE OF THE PARTNER
“I was in love, and the feeling was even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be.”- Nicholas Sparks
It’s a role we leap into with enthusiasm. That wonderful first flush of love! Who can explain it? Maybe the world’s greatest scientist??
“How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? ”- Albert Einstein
OK. Maybe not.
You’re in love. You have a partner to journey through life with. Birds are singing, hearts are pounding, all is well with the world, right?
“I wanted to punch him and understand him at the same time.”- Shannon A. Thompson, (from ‘Take Me Tomorrow’)
(We’ve all been there…)
The initial passion may subside a little, but what’s left is togetherness, mutual appreciation and hopefully, support…?
Me: What am I having?
Wife: A nervous breakdown? Midlife crisis?
Me: …I meant for dinner.
It’s clear that to be successful in the role of partner throughout life, you do need to choose wisely:
That may be where your family journey ends. Just the two of you walking off into the sunset. But for many, it’s only the beginning of the next family role…
THE ROLE OF THE PARENT
“Being a parent is like folding a fitted sheet; no one really knows how.”
From partner to parent. It’s probably the biggest shift in family roles that we’ll ever experience.
We’re thrust into it with no idea of how this little being will turn our lives upside down, inside out and just thoroughly perplex us most of the time (more on that in my blog “Pants on My Head 😱 – The Perplexities of Parenting”)
Where on earth do we start?
Great advice, but hard to take sometimes – we all strive to be the best parent we can be for our kids. But it can be tough some days. Really tough.
“Hell hath no fury like a toddler who’s sandwich has been cut into squares when they wanted triangles.”
However, despite the sleepless nights, we get through it because the family bond is at its strongest here.
Our unique family ‘unit’ has been created and is filled to the brim with our stories together – our ‘in jokes’, our comedies and our tragedies. It matters more than anything else in the world:-
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” –Michael J. Fox
But the role of parent is not for everyone and that doesn’t mean that they have to miss out on the family experience. There’s plenty of fun to be had as…
THE ROLE OF THE AUNTY/UNCLE
“Everyone had an uncle who tried to steal their nose.” – Peter Kay
One of the chief rewards of the Aunty/Uncle role, is that there are SO MANY aspects to it.
“The best aunts aren’t substitute parents, they’re co-conspirators.” — Daryl Gregory
You can be fun, you can be wise…
“Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother, keep secrets like a sister and share love like a friend. “ – unknown
….you can be crazy and you can be comforting.
‘You can tell your uncle stuff that you could not tell your dad. That is kind of the role of an uncle. I feel very much like a father sometimes but sometimes I feel like a teammate.’ – Dusty Baker
You’re an important part of the team, but free of the full time responsibility of it. To sum up:-
“Aunt — a double blessing. You love like a parent and act like a friend.”
And so we move on to our last, but by no means least, family role…
THE ROLE OF THE GRANDPARENT
“What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure.” – Gene Perret
This is perhaps THE most rewarding and important family role of them all. The Head of the Family – you’ve been there, done it, bought the postcard and are now ready to pass your wisdom down the Family Tree:-
(Ok and Grandparents are fun to tease too…😁)
I’ve already talked at length before in my blog about “The Glorious Gifts of Being A Grandparent”. But in their family role, I can’t ignore a mention of them here. They have a significant role to play:-
“Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief they haven’t thought of yet.” – Unknown
Like the aunty or uncle, you get a lot of the fun without the responsibility. You can be an endless source of fascination to your grandchildren too:-
“My three-year-old sat in the bathroom with me, watching as I removed my dentures and brushed them.
After a few minutes, he asked, “Can you take your ears off too?”
In your retirement and twilight years, you may also find a renewed vigour to demonstrate to your family that life is for living!
As long as you don’t take things too far…
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” – Ellen DeGeneres
Ultimately, I feel the role of the grandparent is to gently guide the family ship towards each new horizon, knowing from your rich life experience, that despite the storms, the sun will rise every day.
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” – Anthony Brandt
So there you have it – 5 of the BEST family roles we may play throughout our lives.
As we’ve seen, it’s not all plain sailing and some of our family members may challenge us:-
“Families are like fudge– mostly sweet, with a few nuts.” – Les Dawson
But ultimately (despite the nuts) they are always there for us…
“Because whatever the journey,
Whatever the weather,
Your Family Bus travels
– The Family Bus personalised poetry print
Celebrate the joy and heart of your family with our gorgeous, personalised poetry print!
“The (YOUR FAMILY NAME) Family Bus” is a beautifully illustrated, personalised poem that captures all the fun and chaos of a family trip, as you journey on the roads of life together.
Personalised with up to 7 Family Members our A3 size print is available unframed or in three different frame styles, natural wood, black or white with a lightweight, shatterproof acrylic pane.
“The Family Bus” is one piece of artwork that you’ll treasure forever. Personalise yours here.