What is a family? Who gets to define it?
Since this is my blog, it will be me! *laugh*
In my life I have struggled long and hard with this word and it's meaning. My own family is a group of wonderful people yet they have no ability to truly connect with each other and I have always missed that. Our relationships are like a broken glass. All the pieces are there but it is not really something that you feel safe getting close to. You might be okay but you also might get cut badly. Each interaction makes you question your willingness to take that risk.
Don't get me wrong, my biological family has given me many things for which I am very grateful. I was raised well, taught right from wrong, fed, clothed, sheltered and educated. I know that I was loved and I am sure that I still am. I honestly do try to feel that this was/is enough but something always felt like it was missing.
When I had my own children I found that I wanted to raise my children very differently than I was raised but I did feel that everyone did that. Like it is a right of passage. Don't most people feel that way?
Soon I began to want to do things with and for my children that had not been done with me. Again... I just felt that I was doing things differently because that is how life is supposed to be. Each generation wants better for the ones that follow them.
Through the years I must admit that I began to question the way that I was raised and I often felt very uncared for. To outsiders we had the perfect family and the perfect life but behind those doors there was a lot of hurt. There still is. I suppose it is easier to shine a pretty light on it and pretend that everything is okay when everyone within it knows that it is not.
My proverbial "light-bulb moment" happened when I met my husband Lenny.
He called his family at least once a week and they called him too. They said "I love you" before hanging up and each one always seemed to know what the others were doing.
It did not matter what career you had, whether you had decided to marry or not or even if you decided to suddenly marry a single mother with three young children. The only thing that ever mattered was that you were happy. They supported anything at all so long as you were happy doing it.
If one person needed anything, the others were there. It was never even a question. I am not talking about money here but they would share that too if you needed it and they had it to give.
His family has not always had it easy. In fact they have been through more than you can even imagine. They are a wonderfully convoluted mixture of opposites and yet they stick together as a family.
Becoming part of this family was one of the best things that has ever happened to me in all of my life. They have shown me that it does not matter what you wear, how large or small you may be, what you know, where you travel, who you know, if you mess up your words when trying to talk, spill something on yourself every time you try to eat, what schooling you have, if you have chosen to have 3 children or none at all, if you choose to love the one who you have loved since you were a teenager or you find your love at a bar when you are 35... they just love you.
You can be born in to this family, married in or "adopted" in... it really doesn't matter. They love you solely because you are a part of their family and that means something special to them.
It is the most amazing blessing that this world has ever offered me and I love them dearly for showing me what family can really mean.
There is a reason why this is in my mind today.
I had a serious surgery 4 days ago and I was very worried about it. I hate to admit this but I even wrote some goodbye letters.Overreaction? Most certainly! ... but I was scared to death.
My own (biological) family has not even phoned. Not a card, a phone call... nothing at all. Not even one person. I try so very hard to say it does not bother me but it hurts me deeply. It makes me feel very unimportant and extremely uncared for. I can not imagine knowing that my child was laying in a hospital bed and not make the time to call to see how they were. I will never allow that to happen with my children. I promise you that for sure. I will be the Mom that you see driving the nurses NUTS.
I am not going to stick with this feeling for long because I have been blessed to be a part of the Mullaly family now. They have shown me every day before and since that they care about me and they have given me their thoughts and prayers every step of the way. There is not one that has not called, visited or contacted me in some way to show that they care even though some live in different provinces and they ALL have busy lives of their own. THAT is a family.
My friends have been amazing as well. I have been so blessed with more phone calls, emails and Facebook posts that I can even remember. THANK YOU ALL!!!
So when defining a family I am going to say that they are not necessarily the ones that share you DNA... they are the ones that share your life.
Thank you for sharing my life and thank you for being my family.