Monday, July 28, 2008

Who Shot JR Anyway??

Who would have thought that I would learn ANYTHING about family from JR Ewing? If you remember the 80’s show "Dallas", you would know that the Ewing Family was a far cry from a loving and gracious bunch. My younger brother called me awhile ago and asked me “Who shot JR, anyway?”. Needless to say, this led to a line of questioning to explain why he was asking me this in the first place. Turns out, he had been watching the show in reruns on cable and was trying to figure out who was related to who and what happened to this character etc..

What was interesting is that when I explained the various tangled relationships of the main characters, he was surprised. He mentioned, “Oh they don’t act like ½ sisters” or “Wait, you mean that’s not really their son”. Based on what he saw on screen if they were brothers, they were just brothers no matter who the dad was. If they adopted a son, then that child had all rights and privileges as the others and the parents did not allow for them to be treated any differently. In other words, it was hard based on behavior to see the different sides of the family tree. You were either in the family or out-there was no “in between.”

In real stepfamilies; you have to work 27 hours day to be consistent and careful to not show favoritism or disparity between the “two sides”. People are so quick to say…”Well its just one side now”. “You guys are one family”…blah, blah, blah… That is true in theory and even biblically, but the day to day practicalities are another story. If you treat his kids like you do your own then you appear hard or overbearing. If you don’t, your kids look at you like you’re crazy-like ‘I KNOW you aren’t gonna let them get away with that”. Your kids view you are changing, but in fact you are just stepping up and dealing with some character issues in them that you were too tired to deal with as a single parent. There is alot of tongue in cheek when dealing with the stepchildren (for me its more like bite tongue almost completely off). There are many battles I lose completely. There are some battles I don't even show up for, because I know the victor ahead of time. It's tough, and I am sure my husband could say the same. Before you know it, you have two sets of rules and they bend constantly depending on who it is applicable to.

You also have to manage disparity in your extended family. For example, this past Christmas my mom & dad, sisters, brothers etc..all knew that I wanted no favoritism shown between the kids. You give to them the same as you would mine even if that meant that everyone got less. They did that and blessed all of the kids equally. Some even chose to buy a family gift-for everyone. I am eternally grateful for their sensitivity to that. No, they didn’t buy each child their own Nintendo and a fur coat, but what they did give was across the board. Unity and accord is way more important to me than a nicer gift or an extra $100.00. It was a hard stand for me at first, but if I hadn’t, it would have left an open door for the spirit of discord and unfairness in the house. It also showed my extended family my commitment to see to it that the kids were viewed in the same manner and they followed likewise. So, the kids know that with Big Mommy or Auntie etc.., You are either in the family or out-there is no “in between.” It’s a small thing, but every chance my husband or I get to reiterate the oneness we are growing into, we try to take it. I said “growing” intentionally because for us it is a process.

The character JR once stated to his son that he wanted him to grow up and take over the company. The son knowing a bit about his dad’s ways asked him was he going to take the company from Uncle Bobby since he was sick and in the hospital now. JR quickly corrected him and told his son in essence that “Bobby is my brother and I love him. I would never take anything from him unfairly or take advantage of him when he’s sick. He’s family, you fight fair." In his twisted mindset, family meant something to JR. Even in his unending quest for Ewing Oil, he had an air of respect for family especially his relationship with his brother.

We aren't the "Ewings" (Praise God, because they are waaaay crazier than we are) but Family means something to us too. Every now and then that line will pop back up out of the sand trying to divide us, but instead of picking sides we seek for and get on God’s side and His way of doing things because there is no “in between.” I see glimpses of togetherness all the time. All is not lost. We're family, we fight, but we fight fair....well semi-fair....maybe, pseudo fair....ok, well we're working on it.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it was Kristen, She shot JR.

1 comment:

Syn said...

Thanks for the scratchback and for stopping by my stepfamily web site. I appreciate it!