And Here is How You Got By

It’s been a tough month for my family, a month that we were reminded of the Oprah-ism that came up repeatedly in the wake of Oprah’s last show: when someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Last month, someone close to us showed us who they really are — and it was nothing like the person we thought we knew. It was painful to realize that someone who we thought shared our values did not, in fact, share our values, but it did remind me that my family does have strong, family values.

My family’s values aren’t what you might consider ‘traditional’ family values in that our beliefs aren’t based in religion or centered around marriage. But family is a fundamental value of ours. We aren’t that worried about how you form a family. We don’t care if you have children before you are married or even if you choose to get married at all (although we will fight for your right to marry), but we believe that you should treat your family with care.

What we learned this month was that someone had been careless with family — and not just any family, with our family.

***

It wasn’t until Memorial Day weekend that my family was all together again and as we are apt to do, we went out on walk. (One of my family’s other core beliefs stems from Johanna Spryi’s classic children’s book, Heidi: the mountains will make you well.)

Instead of heading for the mountains, though, we walked along the river where we’d spent so many summer days together. And even though it was an unusually cold May day, it smelled like summer to me out on the trail. It smelled like the dusty, quarter-mile path we used to take down to our usual swimming hole and it reminded me of being a kid again.

Given my obsession with swimming, I used to think it was a waste of time to go to the river just to on a walk. I’d only go to the river in July and August when I could swim. But that weekend, I was satisfied just to walk along the river, past the deep quiet pools and the rushing rapids, and think about calmer times.

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