I've been thinking about family a lot in the past week or so. Not only because I miss my family members who do not live close to us in Louisiana, but because Mason asked me just a few days ago "What's family?" Not exactly the easies question a 3 year old wants an answer to, especially when you have a family like my husband an I do.
My immediate family is made up of my Dad, my Mom and my brother, who is 5 years younger then me. We were your typical suburban upper middle class family. It was perfect.
We were never close to my Dad's family when I was growing up. My Dad is adopted and his adopted father, my Grandpa, was not a very easy man to get along with, and because of that, we kind of missed out on relationships with my Grandma and my Dad's two brother and their families. My Grandfather passed away in 2007 and my family is closer with my Grandma then ever, too bad I've been 1300 miles away.
My Mom's family is AMAZING! Most of them live in Massachusetts, where I was born. I have my Grammy and Grampy. My 3 uncles, Dave, Jeff, and Paul and my aunties, Sharon, Joanne, Sue, Tracey, and Colleen. I use to go to Massachusetts and spend weeks in the summers with them. They are my rocks. I miss them ALL every single day.
Now my husband's family is a little more complicated then mine. My husband was adopted when he was 9 months old, by two amazing people, his mom and dad, Sally and Geroge. They loved him and raised him as their own. They also had another adopted daughter, Amanda, Doug's older sister, who was adopted from El Salvador. Unfortunetly my husband Dad passed away in 1996, before I had the chance to meet him, but I have heard wonderful stories about what a great husband and father he was. Besides his paternal grandma, Doug didn't know any other members of that side of his family. His mom has 3 sisters, who all have families that we love and miss as well. Some are in PA, some are in NJ, some are in GA, and most recently some moved to the west coast! We do not see them as often as we'd like, but they are ALWAYS in our hearts. Unbfortunately, Doug's Mom passed away in 2005. We miss her every single day. I wish she could have met Mason. They would have been the best of friends.
Doug (my husband) also has a lot of family, that I also consider my family that isn't blood related. Honestly, with a father and a husband who have been adopted, we are big "blood doesnt determibe family" people. His godfather's family, who were also his next door neighbors, are closer to us then we are to some actual blood relatives, a lot closer.
After Doug's Mom passed away in 2005 an I found out I was pregnant, we decided it might be a good idea to find out what we could about Doug's birth parents, because at the time we only knew medical history from my Mom's side. We met his birth mother, who directed us to meeting his birth father and his family, who live here in the same town we live in, hence one of the reason we moved here! His father has a wife and 3 children that our the kindest, mot giving people on this planet. They have bailed us out of messes MORE then once. We currently do not have a relationship with his birth mother.
But at the end of the day, the family I go home to, is just Doug, Mason and myself. When Mason asked me "What's family" I was unsure how to answer that question in a way that a 3 year old would understand. I told him " A Family is a bunch of people who love each other, and help each other. It could be a family like ours with a daddy, mommy, and a Mason. It might be two mommies, or two daddies, or one mommy or one daddy. It could be friends that you love so much that they are your family." I don't know if he truly understood what I meant, but I want him to know that families come in all shapes and sizes and just because someone is technically a family member, that doesn't mean they are family.
Family, to me, is what you make it to be, with the people you want to be with.