by David McElroy
A family almost made me cry tonight — not because they did anything wrong or bad — but because of the love I saw they had for each other.
Most families tend to depress me when I observe them. The dynamics I see — between husband and wife, between parents and children — frequently range from shocking meanness to simple indifference. (I’m never sure which is worse.) Sometimes the man is a sullen bully. Sometimes the woman is a bitter complainer who’s eager to criticize everyone.
There are dozens of variations. The worst are the ones in which you can see confusion and fear in the faces of the younger children — and cynical copies of their parents in the older children.
I see so many families which are some version of this, where the ugly realities of choices they’ve made have left them resentful and hollow at best. They’re people who seem defeated by life — and who are determined to take out their frustrations on the people they live with. Because I see this so often, it makes me happy to see something which appears emotionally healthy and positive.