Family Time: Reworked

by MacArthur H. Flournoy, MDiv, Founder -Arise Magazine, Co-Founder, Arise 2.0

Los Angeles – This morning’s 6:00 a.m. wake-up alarm, following by two pleas for more time, began the 75 mile drive from Oakland to Sacramento,California. My eldest son Tokunbo, or “Tkay” as he likes to be called, his spouse, Chip, and my 4 year-old grandson, Caiden, needed transportation to Los Angeles. I had already picked up my sleepy teen sons, from their other dad’s house. My 3 month-old 45 lb Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, lain across the rear car seat, six pieces of luggage, a grande Americano- with 2 add shots were all in place. Our destination?  LLos Angeles, for family time.

After all, it’s Christmas.

Four hundred fifteen miles, six and a half hours later – factoring in 2 food stops, and 3 puppy potty breaks, we arrived at our Los Angeles hotel and family time began – kinda.

Then, out comes the PS3, the iPhones, iPad (mine) and assorted new teen clothes to select the perfect holiday look, to impress their cousins. This Christmas, offers  a different version of family time. And I’m profoundly thankful.

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, my family’s Christmas’ were too often shadowed by domestic violence, alcoholism – triggering feelings of fear and anxiety. Emotions rarely associated with Christmas carols.

Later in life, I would come to create families with special people that brought about five amazing kids, and now a grandson. Family time has changed in ways more beautiful than I ever anticipated.

As with all living things, our family has experienced some occasional reconfigurations. Partners have changed from time to time, but three of have remained the same as parents. Constants in our children’s lives.

Our power to change who is in our family, and how we choose to spend that family time is profound. We are resilient. Occasionally, scarey remnants of my childhood seap through my current reality. Still, not as much as in earlier years.

I’ve worked hard to release some things from my past, to embrace some new things in this moment.

This Christmas, with my teen sons Cornell and Corey playing with their PS3, clothes and latest acquisitions, with my pup sprawled on the hotel floor, as I await the arrival of my son, his spouse and grandson, family time is finally – beautiful.

I made a decision to let some people, memories and things go to embrace this moment.

For families everywhere, whatever the composition, origin, biological or otherwise – may your family time be blessed -filled with joy, laughter and love.

Shalom

#family #christmas #holidays #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ

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