Family. The joke goes that you can’t live with or without them. It’s true, but it’s never the whole picture.
One of my earliest memories is of one of my older sisters turning off the light in the bathroom on me. I couldn’t reach the light switch so I tried to wash my hands anyway. The water came out scalding hot. I was less than three years old, as we moved out of that house before my fourth birthday.
Isn’t that just the picture of sisterhood?
Another strong memory is of being on the bus with my two sisters. One was goofing off with friends when a pencil somehow got jammed into her eye. My oldest sister was at the back of the bus and immediately jumped up to go to her. The bus driver yelled at my eldest sister to sit down and she yelled back that he could stuff it as she made sure my other sister was okay.
Family, to me, is such a difficult and fluid concept. There is the pain of family that turns their back on you when you make choices they don’t agree with. There is the warmth of friends who love you like family who remind you that no matter what, they will always be there.
Long before I met B, I always imagined that my future in-laws would be…non-existent. Seriously. I dreamed that my guy would be an orphan. Or estranged from his family. Thanks to a strained relationship between my Mom and my Dad’s parents, I knew there were worse things than dead in-laws to deal with in life. Prior to meeting his family, I remember asking him what if they didn’t life me and he told me that they didn’t have to be part of our lives if that was the case.
Now, I love my in-laws. I am so blessed that out of the lot of them, only one person rubs me the wrong way. But, that’s bound to happen in life. What I do know is that I’m blessed.
I’m blessed by my family of origin. They have been nothing but supportive of me in my life. After B asked me to move in with him, three months after meeting him, I remember talking to my Mom and her telling me that I couldn’t do anything but give it a shot. She told me that I had to look at it from the perspective of what would I regret not doing. Her support is what gave me the courage to move from Texas to North Dakota and start an incredible life with him.
I am blessed with my in-laws. My MIL and I are two peas in a pod. I finally have a multitude of younger brothers and sisters (I’m the oldest of the group of us thus far). They have never been anything other than loving or accepting of me.
I am blessed by my family of choice (aka friends). I have friends that have seen me through everything. We’ve done everything from waffles and smirnoff to celebrate 21st birthdays before going to class to fifteen hour round trips to Austin for a night of fun. We’ve laughed and cried for years together.
Family. It’s so much more than birth and blood.