It took me about 22 years to realize the importance of family. Until I graduated from college and moved out permanently, my family was more of a burden than a blessing to me. In my eyes, all they ever did was tell me what to do, and yell at me, and I was beyond ready to move into my own place and get away from it all.
But since I moved out almost a year ago, I've gotten closer and closer with my family, finally realizing how much they've actually done for me and how much that means. I spend time with them whenever I can, and now I view them as close friends rather than enemies. This weekend, I went home to spend it with them, and as always, I had a great time.
When I got to their house on Saturday, my mom and I immediately took off to go shopping. Over coffee, we discussed the path I want my future to take, and instead of resenting her for her opinions and advice, I realized I was actually taking what she said seriously, and I was grateful for her point of view. While she and I may still differ on what we believe is best for me, instead of immediately shutting her out, I'm much more likely to thoroughly consider her opinions.
At dinner later that day with both of my parents, we had some conversation about friendships and loyalty, and the kinds of people I should have in my life. They helped me to realize that not only do I not WANT bad friends in my life, but also that I don't DESERVE "friends" who treat me poorly. It was then that I determined that if I had actually listened to their advice and wisdom my whole life, instead of just recently, I probably would have avoided some of the messes that I got myself into and saved myself a whole lot of stress and heartache.
One point that really drove home the whole element of family this weekend was a line from the movie Dark Shadows, that we all watched together Saturday night: "Family is the only real wealth." I believe this is incredibly true, because no matter what is going on in my life, I know that as long as I have my family I'll be alright.
So as I watched my parents bicker this morning about how to best take the door off of the refrigerator before I left (they're currently remodeling their kitchen), I smiled, and realized that in my them, I already have everything I need to be happy. And at the end of the day, that realization is enough for me.