The Extended Family Vortex
I grew up far away from my extended family.
Today I don’t know anyone who is more surrounded by his extended family.
We live with my parents, my mother-in-law, a couple of cousins, a niece, and a nephew.
An assortment of cousins and uncles and aunts make pilgrimages to visit on a steadily increasing basis.
I love it!
Even though I’m really introverted, having these family members with whom Apri and I share a common family story, fills our days with such meaning.
This wasn’t the case the first 10 years of our marriage but something shifted as our family grew and we became more skilled and intentional about hosting things.
Our home became the natural gravitational center of the larger extended family.
We created what I affectionately think of as the extended family vortex.
We don’t pressure people to move or insist that people visit but we embrace it and when they come we suck them into the center of our large, fun, engaging family.
We all want to find where we belong and if you’re a part of our family we have a simple goal—that you feel like you belong with us; like you’ve come home.
Practically this looks like finding unique ways to honor each family member.
My Uncle Tom likes to tell jokes.
April’s Uncle Roger likes to recite poetry.
My Dad loves board games.
April’s sister likes to process her career challenges.
Now, I know this isn’t easy to imagine for many of you reading this.
Sometimes this vision is for the present, sometimes for the near future, but sometimes it’s for the far off future when you’re children and grandchildren are filling the frames of your family photos.
But if there’s anyone you can practice on, learn the skills to create a vortex of your own.
“God settles the solitary in a home” says the Psalmist and if you’re reading this you’re well on your way to building that place for your family today or for the generations to come.
PS. Checkout this convo where Jeff and I talk about incorporating grandparents into the family team.