My dad says our family puts the fun in dysfunctional.
Much as I like the quote, I don’t think it’s accurate. I think of dysfunctional groups as consisting of people who can’t rely on, trust or get along with each other. This isn’t the case in my family.
My parents gave my brother and I the perfect balance of guidance and letting us figure out things for ourselves. We hashed out current events over the dinner table, but Mom and Dad would rarely tell us their personal opinion on politics, including for whom they voted. In retrospect, I think this was to make us think for ourselves. Likewise, if we didn’t feel like going to church for a while, they didn’t force us to.
Now that we’re all “adults” (I use that term lightly, because, you know, there’s Dad), I think our relationships have shifted to a place where we see each other on the same playing field, and respect each other’s opinions equally without necessarily trying to change them.
I can’t forget my cousin (basically my sister) and her husband, who add to every occasion. Likewise, my best friend and her main squeeze have wriggled their way into adopted-sibling status.
In this vein, my family has tended to collect members, which is why holidays and birthdays yield upwards of a dozen or two guests. Rather than preach the Christian faith, my parents live it (“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than this.” -Mark 12:31).
We don’t hold onto grudges and we don’t live in the past. We support each other and offer advice without dictating.
Dysfunctional? No. Crazy and unpredictable? Yes, but always fun.