I have this friend… not a “friend” friend, this is an actual friend. She wanted to get her thought on this out, but doesn’t want to start her own blog page yet…
WHAT IS FAMILY
By Lavender Violet
Everyone has family, but not everyone agrees what the term “family” means. For some, family is a small group of people who share your blood line, that’s the only connection there is though. You are born into your family and have no choice as to who these people are.
For others, family is a small group of people you have “collected” over your life. They share likes and dislikes, they have mutual memories of good and bad times. They are the people you have chosen to share your life with.
Still others believe that family is a large group of people, a group of people that share your blood from as far back as you can imagine. Aunts and uncles and cousins that you have never met, and you would have to go several branches down the family tree to find the connection, but hey, they’re family!
If you had asked a year ago, I would have told you that family is a combination of that group of people that you are born into and have no choice about and that group you have chosen to have in your life. I would have said the family you are born into is solid and never changing, and that your chosen family will fluctuate continually, with those that are always there and those that come and go over time.
I would have told you that both families are equally important and without either one you are not complete. I was known to say things like “she is your sister, you have to love her” or “you don’t have to like your family, but you do have to love them”, and my favorite, “give them time, they will remember they are your family.”
Then, something happened. What happened isn’t important, but it made me rethink what family is. This “something” has been eroding my vision of what family is little by little all year and I have now found a new definition of family. Here is what I think:
A family is a group of people who love each other, for good or bad. A family is a group of people who have come together from all walks of life and have connected in some way. A family is made up of friends, old and new, that will support you without question. Some members of this family may be part of your blood family, but that is not what makes them a part of your group.
Your family can be the brothers and sisters you grew up with. It can be the friends you made as a child. A family can be the person you have fallen in love with. A family can be all of the above, or none of the above, or any combination thereof.
Most of all, a family is what you make it!
You can have anyone in your family, and the flip of that is you can exclude anyone. I have learned, just because “she is your sister/brother” does not mean you have to love her/him. Just because they are born into the first family you will have, does not mean they will always be there. If they are cruel and abusive, you are allowed to kick them out of your life. If they treat you as their slave and only love you when you do their bidding, you are allowed to say no.
It took me many years to learn this lesson, and even more to develop the strength to put it into action, but I did. It took a family member “disowning” me just because I had the strength to say no. It took a family member walking out of my life because I would not stop being friends with someone they did not like. It took a family member referring to me as “oh, the little bitch” when my name was mentioned in passing.
These experiences have left holes in my life that will never heal, but I have found that for each person whom I thought would always love me and be there for me, who walked away, I have one more that walked in.
I have my family! I know who my family is. Some I have known from the day I was born, some I met in my youth, some have just come into my life in recent years. Each person I call family is someone I know I can trust. I have learned this past year, that what makes a person family is more than just love, it is trust.
The popular saying that everyone knows is “Blood is thicker than water” recently I have heard that the original proverb is actually “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”
The second quote has caught my attention. I have done a bit of research, and will admit I cannot find anything to back up the claim that the proverb was changed. However I have also found several interpretations of this proverb, and I think I like the longer version better. The most popular definition I found was that it means that the bond of your covenant (your chosen family) is stronger than that of your birth family (the one that you had no choice over.)
So in the end, if I call you my family, it is because I trust you. If I call you my family, I love you. If I call you my family, I thank you, for being with me, supporting me and showing me what family really is.