The most influential people in my life have been that small band of folks that I was born into, my Family. We’ve been through it all together. Ups and downs, celebrations and disasters, even truths and secrets. Much of what happened throughout the years has shaped us towards what we are today. Yes, there were things each of us had to overcome but the strength of this Family has helped each of us stand on our own together.
This Family came with others as well. The grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that are attached to our parents. I’ve spent parts of my life living near this extended family and parts living far away. I like living near much better. They are a rowdy band of interconnections that will rally around you in a crisis because you are Family.
The funny thing is that as this menagerie has grown and contracted over the years through marriage and divorce, births and deaths, we always come back to our original Family. A touchpoint that helps us be okay. We don’t always agree but we try and listen to each other. We try to support one another.
Then there are the people that come in the side door. It may be that someone’s bad choice has brought a jewel into our Family that we absorb and love as our own. Or the friends that I allow deeper into my life. Those folks I’ve gathered along my meandering journey that have become family. The ones that will call my parents to check on me if I’m not responding to them. The people who have stuck with me through the darkest of times as well as the joyful ones. Even the ones I thought I lost, that came back to me so they were there when I needed them most.
All of these people comprise my family. Not everyone sees things the way I do. For as many family members that I have, there are that that many differing opinions and beliefs. It’s not all sunshine and roses. There are fights and feuds woven in and out of some truly funny and loving memories. Yet we are able to come together at the most important times. We put aside differences to be there for one another. We care about the well-being of every member of this tribe. We learn who the strong ones are, who is sensitive, who will help, who will gossip, who will hold you tight and we act accordingly. Because we are Family.