Portrait of an American Family


There was a lot going on here at Maul-Hall Saturday. Much of it I won’t even have the opportunity to get to. Fair enough, life is very full.

But the big event – the time and effort consuming focus, was hosting a family dinner on behalf of my parents. It was a big success, and I’ll fill in more of the details, but I want to start at the photograph then work my way backward. Why? Because this is how Rebekah described the picture.

“Look,” she said. “It’s an American family.”

First, that’s ironic because the grouping is built around my parents. And if there is one thing about Grace and David Maul it’s that they are English – very.

But that’s the point. In the picture we have English progenitors, a former daughter-in-law and her husband, a naturalized citizen, adopted children, a boyfriend, a potential step-child.

This is the American story. Immigration, blended families, opportunity, multiple generations, conservatives, progressives, naturalization, hope, second chances, redemption…

Long story short, life is a journey. Over time there are love stories, new generations, weddings, funerals, transatlantic migrations, births, grandchildren, spectacular achievements, and – always – some broken dreams along the way. There is hope, disappointment, confusion, rebirth, new life, tragedy, promise. There are degrees, careers, divorces, more children, new relationships, new stories.

This is America. And sometimes all of that, all the disparate strands of life, come together and shake hands, share a meal, share a day, share stories, exchange hugs.

And we celebrate life. We celebrate faith. And we live. This is what we do. This is why we believe in tomorrow.

This is America. This is an American family.

– Derek


  1. I disagree !! It may be like an American family !!!! BUT we were celebrating in our home in which we are Aliens !! WE ARE STILL bRITiSH cITIZENS !!!! BUT thanks for your kind words Derek !!!Love Mum and Dad


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