At the height of the pandemic, my Grandma broke her knee. She spent 8 hours in the hallway of the hospital, because they didn’t have a place to put her. They tried for days to find a rehabilitation center that could take her, with no success.
So my husband and I decided I would go out there for a week and take care of her while we lined up help or figured out an alternate plan.
While I would never wish that pain on her, I’m so glad we had that week together. I got to know her more in that one week than in the previous ten years combined, and I will always treasure those memories.
It was completely worthwhile. And, it was completely exhausting.
Every night, I would make a tiny mug of hot cocoa in this little mid-century mug, and just be quiet for a few moments before I got ready for bed. It was such a small ritual, but it recharged me.
A few months later, we moved Grandma in with my parents in Florida. My sister and I spent a weekend cleaning out her apartment, and I brought that itty bitty mug home with me, along with its twin, which I found in the back of the cupboard.
Last Wednesday, I found myself feeling similarly ragged. It had been a long week in the Rusinko household. The air conditioning went. In the process of digging out our fans, we discovered that the main water line coming into the house was leaking. We’d already started refinishing our deck, and once that train leaves the station, there’s no stopping, so we had to keep going on that project. And we were both busy at work.
So, I pulled out my mug. The evening air was cool. I made hot cocoa with cinnamon, and it was a nourishing, restorative experience. And, it connected me to my Grandma, because I always think of her when I use that mug.
Many of us would like to have closer family relationships. But it can feel like such a daunting task to change our rhythms. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves, which leads us to over-complicate things. We fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking.
Today, we have the chance to learn from GeniBLISS. These two cousins, Kelli and Jamie, have made it their mission to help you maximize everyday moments with intentional decisions to build stronger relationships with those you care about, while at the same time preserving your family’s legacy.
They give us lots of natural and authentic ways to share—and create—family history and strengthen family bonds. It can be so much simpler than you think! (Hint: Sweets to the rescue!) They encourage us to experiment with different ideas and stay flexible, keeping our focus on the ultimate goal, not the outcome of any given event.
One of the things that stood out to me was when Jamie told the story of a tradition her mom tried to start that didn’t take off the way she hoped. But it morphed into something that accomplished the original purpose, which was to have memories from Christmas besides just opening presents.
“Had she not had the courage to start, and try something, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today.”
And Kelli encouraged us to take the long view. As C.S. Lewis said, “Day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” Those intentional decisions build on one another, and in time, you start to see the fruits of your efforts.
BONUS! Kelli and Jamie generously put together a free guide just for us, with a ton of practical ideas on how to maximize the time we’re already spending with family to build strong bonds. Click here to get your copy!