Having my adult children and grandchildren at my favorite pizza place catching up on each other is surreal in many ways. My pictures catch them during their growing up years in this place and that house, and in spite of our success and failure as parents, guides, supporters, they are grown up and facing their own grown up issues in a world that has changed in some ways and is the same in others.
There was a time when I fell into the idolatry of believing that my kids had to reflect honorably on me or my reputation as a clergyman would be sullied. What a load of bull hockey. What my kids always needed was unconditional love and a dose of correction when needed, along with the knowledge that they would be guided and find their own way, as I did. Sometimes our church life helped in this process, sometimes in hindered.
I know that I was unable to really change the benevolent neglect that was my parents style for me, and I wish I could have done more, but it was what it was, and we are what we are, and God knows how to bless this mess that is the American family.
What we have is common memories, common turf, common family ways, that can be adapted, rejected, modified, or modeled when they are on their own. I love my family, we are not large or prolific, we are small, and we split our lives between the south and the west, an odd sort of southwesterner, we still say, ma'am and sir, but we add "howdy" on occasion.