I don't have an Instagram family

I don't have an Instagram family

Trying to get a picture for the Christmas card was a challenge in our family. Of course, my Mom wanted us all looking our best and happy. One year my brothers were acting typically for their ages goading each other on to be obnoxious, "Stick your tongue out!" "I'm going to cross my eyes." My Mom was so fed up she cried "Stop, stop messing around!" She finally just threw her arms up and took a picture.

When my Mom was preparing the cards, some of us saw it, "Mom, you can't send that out." She sighed, "I most certainly can send it, it's who we are."

We were never a fake family; we limped, were different, had accents, got in trouble and were noticed. People talked about us in a bad way or admired us, but we were real and most had an opinion about our unusual family.

The desire to make everyone think everything is perfect is not new, and it is misleading. Don't believe that any family is perfect; I've never come across one. 

We just got back from a two-week road trip full of the usual ups and downs. There was a moment in a campground where my teenage son was rude to me. A family with small children at a nearby campground watched. They looked up shocked. You could read their minds in the looks on their faces, "My son will never be that kind of teen! Not mine...I am a better parent than that!" I sighed and dealt with my kids, more than frustrated with the outburst. 

It was a great trip full of memories. It wasn't perfect; perfect doesn't exist, and quite frankly it's boring. You learn from the hard stuff; memories are made from the funny stories, the hard stories, the goof ups, the make ups and the mishaps. 

I don't remember having perfect manners or being polite; I do however remember the spilled milk, the fights, the love, the lessons and the laughs. Embrace imperfection and be proud of your family with all the ups and downs because we all have them.

—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife