We were visiting with friends in rural Kearney, Missouri and my wife and her friend Cheryl had taken the girls into nearby Kansas City to shop. Bill and I kept our boys and were enjoying a leisurely afternoon watching the kids run through the sprinklers and eating watermelon. Our little Grant, who was about 5 at the time, was running around in a swimsuit and some water shoes when he came upon a piece of wood with a nail in it that was sticking up. I should have seen this coming, but he stopped, looked at that board and then put his little foot square down on the nail. His eyes went wide and he burst into tears. I ran over and pulled his foot off the nail and grabbed a nearby swim towel to try to stop the bleeding. He was hysterical, as one could imagine. We ran into the house to clean the fairly deep wound and we ended up at the local emergency room getting a tetanus shot, which made matters even worse.
In this first section, we review core volumes that represent overviews of family communication research and theorizing, followed by volumes that explore relational types and volumes that explore family processes and contexts. First, four edited volumes take broad lenses to the terrain, the earliest being Fitzpatrick and Vangelisti 1995 , an introduction to family interactions across the life span. Vangelisti 2012 follows with a comprehensive thirty-chapter volume of the breadth of scholarship across disciplines. Turner and West 2006 presents conceptual and application essays on the breadth of family communication. Braithwaite and Baxter 2006 focuses exclusively on theories used in the late 20th and early 21st century, or ones with the potential to guide family scholars, framed by the authors’ analysis of research from 1990 to 2003. Finally, the edited volume Floyd and Morman 2006 focuses on understudied family relationships.