Growing up, I always had a pack of people cheering me on in whatever endeavor I sought out. The importance of family is just something that was part of my upbringing. I never doubted it, and I never knew there was any other way to be. I always had a huge audience when it came to band concerts, dance recitals, drill team half-time shows, church events, birthday celebrations, and graduations. When the time came, I had a huge wedding, mostly family, and I had a huge group of visitors fill my hospital room the day my little girl was born. Mi familia. My people.
A few weekends ago, we were all by my grandpa’s side because he had been very sick. With the majority of my family there, praying with him and for him, he gave us quite a scare. It became so serious that one of my family members had to call 911, and he had to be rushed to the hospital. It was definitely something that we will never forget. Almost 20 of us were there in that ER waiting room, pacing and praying in the wee hours of the morning. Our world stopped for a second. Thankfully, he’s on the road to recovery, but the way each daughter, son, granddaughter, and grandson waited by his side, day in and day out, of a week-long hospital stay is something that’s made for the movies. That’s my family. Is it yours?
I didn’t realize until I was in high school that not everyone has 20-something people at events, good or bad. I didn’t realize that not everyone has 20-something people that will drop whatever they are doing to be by your side in a time of need or just to cheer you on, no matter how far they have to drive or what time of day it is. Now that almost everyone is older, we have all spread out into different cities, yet we all still make it a priority to be there for each other. That’s my family.
Family are the crazy people that you get to do life with. They’re the people who drive you nuts sometimes because, hello, everyone has a different personality, but they’re also your best friend. No opinion is ever the same, and sometimes you just agree to disagree. But through it all, you love each other unconditionally. Our family motto is :: “We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all.” We’re loud, and we love big and hurt big, but we forgive big, too. That’s my family.
Over the years, we’ve seen family members come and go. Marriages add in new members, and then divorces, well, divorces break up the link a little bit. Divorces will do that to you. It’s always hard adjusting to change, especially when you feel like the chain is broken, but such is life. We’ve always forgiven and respected any wrong-doing or hurt hearts, because somehow we’ll always be connected to each other no matter what. That’s my family.
Holidays are full of laughs and drama. They’re full of traditions and favorite foods. They’re integral parts of our year, because they’re the most special of days when we try our hardest to make time for each other, all 20-something of us under one roof. We pull out air mattresses and sleeping bags and share one bathroom. We sit on the floor or rent tables for the sake of being all in one room. That’s my family.
Then there are the people who come into our lives who call our family members what we call them. “How’s Momo and Popo? How’s Aunt Hopey? How’s Booboo?” They’re the family we choose. They’re the same people standing right along side the people who have our same blood, and they are loyal and loving all the same. That’s my family.
Family is how we get through this thing called life. No matter what they look like, where they come from, or how a family is made, family is a gift from God. They’re the ones we call when someone takes their first breath and the ones we call when someone takes their last. They hold our hands through broken hearts and cheer us on when we triumph. They make life better. That’s my family. I hope it’s yours.
We’re all in this life together. Cherish each other. Love each other. Forgive each other. Be there for each other. Whether people are in your life for a season, they’re always in your life for a reason. Family is family. Let them know just how important they are.