Happy & Healthy . . some of the time

"It's so nice to see family enjoying each other," the waitress remarked as she filled our water. 

Jeff and I were out with our oldest son for a rare 2-on-1 dinner a couple days before his graduation.

We've received a lot of similar comments over the years.

"What a lovely family."

We are really. Nine of us (going on 10) love each other a lot!

As our kids have grown older we hear it from their friends, "The Hylands are such a great family."

Lest I sound like an unabashed braggart, let me assure you the point of this post is not to tell you how wonderful we are.

Rather, I want to dispel a myth that robbed me of contentment with my family for WAY too long, and it's this . .

Happy, healthy families are always happy and healthy.

Now I know we know better than that in reality, but too often the desires of our hearts for our family can be anything but realistic.

The reality in our family is . . .

We fight. 

The kids say shut up and call each other names. 

Tensions rise concurrent with tempers. 

There is sulking, shouting, cursing, slamming. 

You name it.

It's totally real.

And we say sorry and I love you. And hug a lot. And every birthday we sit around our table after cake and presents and one by one tell the birthday boy or girl why we love them.

In our almost twenty-six years of family we've tasted almost all of the things we most hoped to avoid when we started this journey. 

Just a small bite of some and stomach wrenching swallowed mouthfuls of others.

It's been lie awake at night ugly.

And more beautiful than I ever dreamed it would or even could be.

So this is the truth that's replaced the myth. 

Happy and healthy families are happy and healthy because of God's love, forgiveness, and grace.

And the more reality we experience, the more this truth becomes true in our family.

So don't go for perfect or even something close. And when reality sets in, remember that as trite and cheesy as it may sound . . .

Love really does conquer all.

Daniel, Hilary, her brother Drew, and the rest of the happy and healthy (most of the time) brood