Sun | May 31, 2020

VIDEO: Meet the Schwapps

Published:Monday | January 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMTickoya Joseph
Daddy's girls, Claire and Briana (right) are very proud of their father's moral standards and everlasting commitment and support to the family.
Daniel is the emotional and mechanical fixer-upper. He fixes all things broken without applying a sugar coat. He is a pillar of strength to his sisters and his mother.
Claire, the youngest of all the children, is credited for being that sudden burst of energy that is very sensitive and mindful of everyone's feelings.
A beautiful bond between mother and son gets stronger daily.
Melanie lives for perfection and her plants.
Briana, upcoming vet, is a lover of people and all things furry. She is in tune with people’s emotions and is always willing to help.
No one left behind. Family activities are instrumental in having a happy home.
Melanie Schwapps, perfect mother, friend and companion; the one who keeps everything together.
Phillip and Melanie Schwapps, a match made in heaven.
The 'Schwiblings'.

Stepping into the Schwapps' household is like stepping into a museum of fine art. One is immediately captured by the bright smiles and intimate chatter among family members. The walls are filled with exquisite pieces, symbolic of the strength of the family through their challenges and successes.

They are unit of five - Briana, Claire and Daniel, and their proud parents Melanie and Phillip make up the Schwapps family. Melanie, a writer and interior decorator, is very passionate about family and home. She takes great pride preparing a comfortable yet trendy space for her most prized possessions. "You might think mommy is just sitting and listening. No, she is looking for something to fix," chuckled her son Daniel.

Quality time and communications are very important in having a happy family. Melanie told Outlook she insisted that her kids were each other's friends first. Therefore, after homework, they would go outside and play with each other as television was banned from their weekly activities. Another staple in the Schwapps family is a gadget-free, compulsory dinnertime. All members of the family have to be present at the dinner table, where they would share the experiences and activities of the day. This allows them to be a part of each other's daily experiences.

This get-together also facilitates the building of trust and comfort which has resulted in an open relationship among children and parents. All three children admitted that they felt comfortable discussing anything with their parents. There is no need to reach outside the home for affection or validation.

Melanie says she encourages families to do activities and take trips together as a family. "It doesn't have to be expensive, as long as you are together."

Briana, the eldest of the children, echoed the same sentiments and added that most of their summers were spent playing Kalooki. She also made reference to regular family talent shows and parties held at the Schwapps' residence with performances by her superstar sister, Claire.

Briana and Daniel, who have left the nest for studies, explained that leaving home was the hardest thing they have ever done. This is quite shocking as teen/young adults are normally eager to leave home. Briana noted that it is extremely difficult in the initial stages, when you are in a new environment with no friends and you don't have your siblings around. Daniel agreed wholeheartedly and added that, in fact, being away has made him closer to his sisters. "Being with them every day, you take them for granted." However, with the use of technology, they have found ways to keep their bond strong. Much to their mother's annoyance, they have created a WhatsApp group called the 'Schwiblings' that they use to check in on each other and have conversations mothers should not be a part of.

With raw emotions, teary eyes and crackling voices, each family member shared their favourite traits.

Each member of the Schwapps family complements the other. It is a perfect blend of characters and has resulted in a home of strong values, love and stability.