- Family and Parenting
Your Family Isn't about Blood, but Love
What is a Family?
When you say the word family, what comes to mind?
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." - Jane Howard
"It is not flesh and blood, but heart that makes us fathers and sons."- Johann Schiller
I think families are also made up of the people you love... and that makes for some interesting combinations.
Take for instance, the true story of the Academy Award winning movie: "The Blind Side". It is a wonderful story worth watching. It illustrates how families happen outside of the realm of DNA. The feelings evoked by that movie remind me of what my extended family is composed of. Truly beautiful people.
The People I Love
I lost my husband 15 years ago and in the years that followed; contact with my stepson, who lived with us from the age of 9. To my great joy we have found each other and discovered how very much we are family. It truly feels like no time had passed. He regards me as his mother, a role I cherish having never had children of my own. I am so grateful we connected.
My family bonding began with a wonderful adoptive family that is now almost entirely in Finland, My fondest memories are of Mummu (grandmother) who loved me as her own grandchild and made my world what it is today. Grandmother took care of me and a cousin (we are born two weeks apart) while our parents worked. Though we didn't look alike our close age made us look like twins. so I suppose we were close, my "first" friend and sister! Mummu loved us both.
When my parents immigrated, so the story goes, Mummu missed me so much that when a second daughter was born to my aunt, she was named after me. What a loving gesture from my family.
It would be decades before I was re-united with my grandmother and what was wonderful was the instant bond we shared. I wish a loving grandmother for every child! This was a person I had a palpable feeling for from the moment I set eyes on her. She was my family!
I had the opportunity to visit her in Finland many years later and meet the entire clan and once again the palpable feeling of belonging washed over me. I met my namesake and the twin sister of my infancy and together we felt like a sisterhood. That was 25 years ago and the feeling is still as strong even though I lost the grandmother and eventually aunt and mother.
The sisters (cousins) are still very much my family. Long periods happen when we don't contact each other, but the bond is instantaneously reaffirmed each time we talk or communicate. After all we shared a grandmother and the same family and know each other's life stories.
My family also consists of friends that knew me at various stages of life. We have seen each other through life events and have been there to cheer each other or offer a comforting sounding board. We live our own lives, but share in a way that is indicative of a family. It isn't just a casual interest or a conditional one. The friendship is as a family. We are there for each other and our relationship is an unconditional one.
As time wears on, every once in awhile a new friend becomes a part of my family. It can't be determined at first sight who it will be, it just evolves naturally. There just is that affinity and genuine "like" for each other and again, it does not depend on being in constant touch! Just like family, miles and weeks can separate us, yet when we make contact it is "heartwarming".
This story doesn't end here.
Having been widowed and suffering the loss of a huge part of my life when my late husband passed away, I have been fortunate to connect with a soul mate who brings his family into my life. I look forward to this whole new branch of family to call my own as time goes on!
I adore the idea of the big Italian families with huge interconnected families. Since I wasn't gifted with a huge "natural" family, I am blessed to have "my own unique family" made up of all the people I love..