“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” ― Trenton Lee Stewart
Family is such an important word. It means much more to me than it’s evident meaning. And, it’s an important concept because it does not just mean the group of people you were born into a shared experience with, but that which cements you together by the heart. At least, this is what it means for me.
I was born into a lovely family. 4 kids, 2 parents, and every now and then, a dog or a cat. We were taught to love and care for each other. It was important to my mother that we love each other and treat each other well, that we help each other and stay connected. Growing up there was always a spirit of conviviality and joy as we celebrated holidays and birthdays, took vacations, and hosted friends. There were difficult times, too. Battles between the units, rivalries with the siblings, the usual. But at the center of all this — a foundation built on love and care.
“I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. ” ― Jim Butcher
Nowadays my understanding of family transcends the family unit, the blood ties. Sure, it still includes those genetic bonds, but it also means choice. As I grew up and away from my family home, I learned to lean on, rely upon, appreciate, care for, and need those who would fill the spaces made empty by distance, time, and philosophies. People slid into place and loved me, treasured me, held me up, leaned in on me when necessary. They became those I could also count on, those who had my back, and whose back I could have, and grew every bit as close heart-wise, (if not closer), than those with whom I share a blood line. As I get older, it is important to stay connected to my birth family, but it is as important to cultivate the bonds of love with those of my choice-family. For family as I see it, is just another word for love.
And I am a lucky girl to be so loved.
© 2015 Egyirba High All Rights Reserved
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