Parental units is the loving term that my brother and sisters and I gave our parents back in high school. It later became shortened like most of our nicknames do into just Units. My family of origin is known for their nicknames that have no relation to your actual name and by the time it morhps into it's 2nd or 3rd variation of that nickname really makes no sense. I'm just glad my sister doesn't call me Face anymore...which was shortened from Buttface when she was a lovely teenager. But I digress...
My parental units happen to be the best you will find. Go ahead, look high and low. The best are mine.
Our family has had and will continue to have it's fair share of dysfunction but that is what my parents have taught me best of all. Famly means sticking together through whatever comes your way. A good family doesn't mean that you won't ever have your problems or that you agree on everything or even live your life in similar ways. It means you love one another despite yourselves.
It means when your brother has green hair and plays songs in his punk rock band titled "Psycho Cabbage'' that you go to his gigs and cheer him on. It means that when your little sister comes home pregnant as a senior in high school that you cry with her and then walk her through the steps of what it's going to take to be a good mom. It means when that same sister is beaten by her husband you sit with her while she talks to the police. You don't preach or judge, you sit with her. You love her. It means when your sister calls from far away after her fifth miscarriage, you know it is okay to not have anything to say. It is okay to just cry on the phone with her in silence. It means when one of you want to be an emmy award winning news producer you believe they will do just that. It means when another of you want to just be at home with your kids, that you help them find bargains now and then. It means that when you are a senior in high school and you get arrested at a college for underage drinking, your parents love you anyway. It means that when a marriage is struggling you pray for them and love them and encourage them and you show up with pink capes on if necessary. It means that when you know you have screwed up and made a dumb choice that your family will be there anyway. They may rib you a bit for it. They may joke about it (in love, of course) for the rest of your life but they will be there when you are doing the victory dance in life or when you are sliding down the wall in grief.
Family was modeled to me from a very young age and that gift is priceless. I sit and think about my family. What we've been through and the journeys I'm sure are to come...and I feel a sense of pride that I've never felt about anything else. I feel a sense of gratitude like no other. I know how blessed I am to have this and the older I get, the more I realize how abnormal it really is. This year at Christmas my entire family will be together and I simply cannot wait. It is one of my greatest ways to spend a day...with my loud loving family eating and watching 14 cousins running around and playing games and dancing and singing and lauging so much someone just may pee a little. I love that my family looks like an old Benetton ad from the late 80's and that you can't tell whose kid is whose by just looking because we all take care of each others like they are our own. I love that if you have married into this family it really doesn't feel any different than if you were born into it. Like it or not. I love that God gave me my parental units example and for each one of my very different siblings. I love that my parents set the example for me of what a family looks like and that at the center of it all is the example Jesus set for us on how to love. I can only hope that someday my children look at their Units and feel the same sense of gratitude and pride.
Now if we can only get Mom to remember who she told what to, things would be perfect!