My Family Hasn’t Turned Out Like I Thought it Would

Family life: Before my husband and I had  children, we had an idea of what it would look like. To a large extent, our ideals were a combination of many of the positives from our childhood experiences married with our own personal values.

Many of the things I hoped for have come to be but more than that: it’s surprising to see how family life is its own entity, and has grown around me, and in many ways in spite of me and my notorious long term planning addiction.

Let me back track a bit; I need to talk pets for minute. I didn’t want a pet for our family. It’s not that I don’t like pets (I do!) but our family moves a lot so we are limited in what sort of pets we can have.  Plus, I figure: I’m flat out trying to look after 4 kids so don’t need another thing to look after! Right?

Well, my daughter desperately wanted a bird for her 7th birthday. I noticed my daughter’s desire for a bird was matched with a general interest in birds. You know when you can tell when your child is really interested in something, rather than it being a passing phase? (Probably a bit like how astronomy was to my husband when he was a child.) This interest in birds was not something we particularly fostered or encouraged, it just happened.

Still, I felt reluctant to have a pet bird, but after thinking about it, and acknowledging my daughter’s responsible behaviour when it comes to looking after her property, my husband and I decided to give her a cockatiel pet bird. Here he is:

White and Yellow cockatiel pet bird

Do you know what she named it? Aprie Apricot Tizzy-Wing Burstow. We take names very seriously in this house! HA! We call him Tizzy for short. Along with Tizzy, we gave our daughter the Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Ken Simpson and Nicolas Day to encourage her general interest in birds.

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Ken Simpson and Nicolas Day

Tizzy has been in our lives for over a year now and we all LOVE him! Not only do we love having him as part of our family, my daughter’s passion for birds is developing, and rubbing off on the rest of us!

That’s a bit of history, now let me tell you about this weekend.  We went for a spontaneous camping trip to Jimna, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands. It’s a gorgeous spot!

Jimna, Queensland, Australia

It’s the first time we have been camping for only a weekend.  It was a bit of work but certainly worthwhile; I feel like we have been gone for much longer than just one night.

Camping at Jimna, Queensland

My daughter, as usual, packed her bird book with her other things. I didn’t remind, or ask her to; she often brings it with her when we are out and about.

I love wildlife in general but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly interested in birds so it’s facinating to see my daughter develop her own interests. It’s also interesting to see our entire family embrace my daughter’s love for birds. Birds are now something we all look for, identify and talk about.

Birdwatching at Jimna -- Field Guide to Australian Birds -- Simpson and Day

Jimna is full of wild life, including many varieties of birds.  Below are two of the varities I captured on film.

On the drive home from our camping trip, I was thinking about birds, and how our famiy have turned into birdwatchers of sorts.  I turned and looked at my husband behind the wheel and said, “It’s amazing how our family has evolved, isn’t it?”

It has done just that: evolved, changed, moved, grown.

I didn’t expect us to be the spontaneous type, but here we are, just home from a weekend camping trip we decided on just a few days ago.

I didn’t expect us to love the outdoors quite so much, but it’s where we all are the most relaxed.

I didn’t expect us to be quite so adventurous as a family but our kids embrace everything we do and our recent road trip confirmed to us how much we love travel and experiences.

I didn’t expect that I would be so confident to do many thing on my own with the kids, but necessity has forced me to be this way.

I certainly did not expect us to be the family who quotes star wars in conversations.

I think it’s important to have goals and values for family life, but I have also seen the value of being open to whatever may be. None of the above was planned, it just happened from parenting in the moments.

Family is its own entity, apart from us as individuals, and it grows and changes as we all contribute parts of ourselves to the mix.  I see this as a working example of being anchored by the big picture but living in the moments.

My family hasn’t turned out like I thought it would, it’s better. It’s better because nothing I could ever have fabricated or planned could be more valuable than watching my kids grow and impart their own ideas into the beautiful thing that is our family. It’s not perfect, but it’s wonderful.

Family: I’ve learned that it’s alive and I have to let it grow at will in the confines of our family values.

Has family life for you turned out a little differently than you expected?

Relevant Post

Under the Stars

Live in the Moment

Family Dynamics: It’s Like the Zipper

I Didn’t Expect My Kids To Be My Heroes

Family Life Stages

Favourite Outdoor Play Spaces

Playing with your kids: a confession

Living Learning and Connecting the Dots

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. says

    Olivia is SO jealous. She is a twitcher. We live in the bush and she can see birds that I never knew existed.

    My family is closer together and larger than I ever imagined. But also better than I dared hope.


  2. Nicole says

    Oh in more ways than one. I didnt ever expect to be a single mother. I didnt think I would ever live so far away from my family. I never ever thought that being the only adult in the house could actually make things easier!! If something needs to be done I do it. I never have to nag again LOL 😀

  3. says

    What a wonderful post, you are so insightful and write everything so beautifully. Our family isn’t how I imagined either, only because I didn’t realise that imperfection could be so perfect until the kids came along!

  4. Kylee says

    Lovely post. My sentiments are the same as most. Didn’t expect us to be where we are, but my children (in particular) never cease to amaze and inspire me. I always find it fascinating that passions can start in childhood that end up being a real source of fulfilment in adulthood. Great to see you nurture that. That is a beautiful photo of your daughter with her bird.

  5. says

    This is so beautiful. No, my life had turned out so much better than i dared to dream. Like you, a married my teen love, had 3 girls then a boy, da dah. But when i fell in love with my husband he was not in the regular Army, we never imagined we’d live in (& have 4 babies) the Northern Territory & absolutely love the place, moving there twice, or where we are now – from a tiny combined income of $40K just 7 years ago, to now having children in private high school & planning to live in the countryside, & commute to the city. Best of all, as much as i had hoped, i never really dreamed i’d still be able to stay a full time stay at home mum. That in turn, is a reflection that my husband has been to war 5 times (he’s there now) with the bonus pay. I can’t wait for the next few years as i approach 40 & we start a farm & build a home. Very exciting.
    As for basing it on our childhoods, mine was filled with travel & love, the best of everything & capped off with a wonderful University education, my husband fought with his siblings, his parents never told them they loved him & he struggled at school (thus joining the Army) & his parents didn’t care. So we’ve created something quite special how we treat our 4 children & guess what, they don’t fight, we are available if they get stuck on homework (right now i’m doing year 8 trigonometry) & i’m baking love heart shaped vanilla biscuits for my children’s lunch boxes & friends tomorrow. Life is freaking fantastic. Albeit with a husband on Skype, but he’ll be home in 5 months, love Posie

    • says

      Love your post Kelly. Our family has changed in so many ways. It is very, very different to what I had a vision of in my mind. I love that it turned out that way. I also love Posie and her mother heart. N x

  6. Veronica @ Mixed Gems says

    A beautiful and thought provoking post. I guess there’s only so much one can control. A bit of organic growth needn’t be something to fear. After all, whilst I think I’m the one teaching and leading all the time (I am the parent after all), I’ve already seen the little ones have a way of teaching me a thing or two!

  7. Hannah Millerick says

    I admire the way you allow your children to be who they are as individuals and support their little learning minds, putting aside you own “likes and dislikes”. xx

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