How do you define family? Family is love. It is more than the people you gather with on holidays and special occasions. Families are united by common blood, but not always.
I am grateful for the family of my birth and upbringing. My childhood memories are filled with love, laughter, and support of my family. My parents, my sister, and I sat down to daily meals together. I remember hearing my Daddy pray every night before he laid down to sleep. My Mama, she was sewing our clothes, cooking meals, and singing in church. My aunt Barbara offered her knowledge, perseverance, and work ethic. Both my Mama and Aunt Barbara worked as much as any man, doing what had to be done; even after being told, “You ladies shouldn’t be doing that.” Grandma Whidby loved to talk, calling folks on the phone to check on them. Grandma Samples told stories, fascinating me of times long past. My cousins, my sister, and I embarked on fantasy playtime and dreams of our future. We sang, put on shows, and rode the go-cart too fast. My family surrounded me with safety, comfort, and joy throughout my childhood.
Present Day Family:
From the day each were born, my three children thrill my heart. I remember our many Christmas mornings. The kids were excited for the new toys. I wanted all their Grandparents to see them, so each year, we all had breakfast together at our house. All six of the grandparents gathered, enjoying this time with their grandchildren. I proudly watched my sons and daughter grow into young adults Each seek and are successful on their own paths. What a joy for a mother to witness!
I have a family I chose, and they chose me. My husband and I and our families bonded in a special way years ago. Our mothers are the best of friends. They called each other, were confidants, and often asked each other, “What are we going to do with our kids? Are they normal kids?”. On our wedding day, our Moms sat together on a bench talking. I have that picture in my memory. That’s my family, my Mama and my other Mom, who loved the people in her life; she treated everyone as family, her gift to us all.
Every day I have my husband, standing with me, our own family unit. We each have life-long friends that are family, too. Friends we can text, call, or share a meal. We know these friends are there for us. Additionally, we are part of a unique family, a group that meets at least twice a month to play Dungeons & Dragons, or another role-playing game. Individually, we have traversed life’s ups and downs. However, for almost three years now, our gatherings have been the anchor and stabilizer. We come together to role play in a fantasy world, to laugh, and to escape. We know our friends here are supportive; a family we choose.
How do I define family? Family is a kaleidoscope, composed of intricate, interlocking pieces, all forming a beautiful image of love.