Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How do you define family?

Family has really been on my mind lately. Not overly surprising as we just attended a family reunion. It's been weighing on me, deeply, that I am truly lucky.

My family is close, kind of crazy but funny and they care about each other deeply. We're scattered but keep in contact. Loud and sarcastic but also kindhearted.

It's also not the family I was born into. It's my dad's family...but not my biological father's family. My parents have been married for more than 25 years, he IS my dad. He's the one that walked me down the aisle. He's the one my boys call Grandpa - and I know he could not love those boys more. He is the one who raised my sister and I. His family is mine. They are aunts, uncles, a zillion cousins. We share our sarcastic streak and love of playing cards. No one says step. Ever. It's not their way. Once you're a part of the family, that's it. The end.

My mom's family is great but it's quite small and definitely not as close as my dad's colorful clan. I love going to visit them but it's just different.

Perhaps that's why I feel so grateful that I have such a fantastic family. They could choose to not be so accepting but they don't.

Family isn't always defined by genetics or marriages. In this military life we often make little families wherever we're stationed for support since we're often thousands of miles away from "home". We may be scattered but I know there are members of my military family that I could call at 3am their time because I forgot about the time difference between us but they wouldn't care and would commiserate and cry with me or lift my spirits or whatever. They get things that few others would and for that I am forever grateful.

I've always had a hard time with people who want to slap labels on everything. Maybe it's the hippy artist in me. I don't think that you should be defined by a label someone arbitrarily slapped on you. As in, yes I am an Army wife however that is FAR from defining who I am. Why should family be the same? Just because genetics dictate that you belong to this family, who's to say that you can't create or become a part of another that is just as truly family (or more) than the one you are tied to genetically.

At the end of the day, I love my family. All my families.