03/09/2015 07:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Building A Good Family

Pete Wilgoren

It was Saturday morning and the kids had piled into the bed right on top of their mom and me... you know, that one cheek on one cheek off thing parents have to do to squish in. I grabbed my phone and we snapped a family selfie. And in that second on a random Saturday morning, the wife said to me "we've built a good family."

I posted the picture online because we rarely get a picture of all of us together and Dadmissions reader Katherine responded, "I love that she said 'built' -- so many people don't understand that it takes work and commitment to make a family great it doesn't just happen."

And it dawned on me that Katherine is right. The physical act of trying to make a family can last two minutes on a Sunday night after "The Good Wife" and some drinks (don't judge). It doesn't take much brains and it certainly doesn't take much skill (don't judge). But the actual "making" of a family can take years and years... as it slowly grows and is nurtured from the very beginning. It starts as hope and dreams. It becomes busy with car pools and back to school shopping and bills and mortgages and schedules and parties... all those parties. But it also becomes bike rides and hikes and pony rides and trick-or-treating and dress up and hair-brushing and playing catch and father-daughter dances and school talent shows and baking and homemade gifts and love. Love. It becomes that too.

All of a sudden, what was once just a dream of having a family is actually the reality that you have one... and it's a good one. It can be overwhelming with homework and schedules and expenses. But it can also be awesome and assuring and soul-affirming. And it might not always be obvious to you. But then, on a random Saturday morning when the kids jump into bed and steal the two minutes of alone time you thought you had with your spouse, you realize, you've built a good family. And it's perfectly imperfect.


find me on Facebook at Dadmissions
and at