1. any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
2. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
This topic varies from one extreme to another for people. I have friends who disconnected with their families at 18 and have yet to look back. Other people I know had a period of separation and now have a closer connection to their families than they did when they were living at home. I have always been close with my family. Our relationships have changed through the years, but I would say now I feel more connected with my family than I did in my younger years.
One of my favorite parts about being in my 20s is the variety of stages of life that my friends are currently experiencing. One of my long term friends will soon be the first of my friends to have a baby. I sit here as a single girl and the concept of starting a family seems so foreign and distant future for me. But I love that I get to experience it, and all the other stages, through my friendships. Since she is the first person in my age group I know to start a family I thought she’d be the perfect candidate to write about what family means.
This guest post was written by Andrea, my feisty, high energy, Italian friend who is currently 8 months pregnant. Andrea can be found blogging regularly at My Big Fat Italian Life.
Being a 20 something, I never really thought about family. I guess I thought everyone would always be around. And then… my grandfather died. He was the first person I ever knew to die, he was the first funeral I ever attended and he was one of my closest friends.
At the age of 20, I realized, life could change in a heartbeat.
You see, growing up in the Northeast I had everything at the tips of my fingers. I had doting parents, I was an only child, for 13 years, and I was the first grandchild. Needless to say I was spoiled from the get go! Then, at the age of 13, a new addition arrived in our family. My baby brother was born and it changed our world. For 13 years we were a small unit of 3, and then this little baby boy came in and rocked our world. Soon, we became a unit of 4. I was no longer the center of attention and I had to share the spotlight. It was hard at first, but as I grew older I realized this is what the cycle of life was about.
At the age of 21, I met a man who would change my life forever. He was kind, well spoken, cultured, and loved all the same things I did. We would eat sushi, talk about travel and watch independent movies. I had never felt a love or a spark like this before, it was something so invigorating, so new! You see in the year 2000, I was moving to Florida, from Texas where I currently reside, and he was disappointed I would be leaving. Over the phone a couple weeks before the move, he told me “You can’t leave… because I am in love with you!” I was dumbfounded!! A silly grin appeared on my face and I started to cry. I realized at that time, I was in love too. I couldn’t leave this man. This was my opportunity to have the love my parents had.
Shortly after that we moved in together, and we grew together. I forgave him for never putting dishes in the sink, and he forgave me for never putting up a towel. After a year, I was totally smitten, but always trying to play it cool (like I do!) I had never discussed marriage, never thought about it really. Shoot, we were practically married already. We had a cat, an apartment and we did each other’s laundry! To me… that was what marriage and a family was all about.
Then, on our 2 year anniversary (of our first date) we went to dinner. He was acting a little weird, but I didn’t think anything of it. I was tired, we were having wine, and I was just enjoying the company and the food! At the end of the meal the waiter offered me the desert menu. After a full bottle of wine and some champagne, I was in no mood to turn down chocolate, so I ordered the “chef’s special.” Well… there was no chocolate. Only a gorgeous diamond ring on a bed of roses. I knew then, that this man would be part of my family forever. I cried, put on the ring, called family and we embarked on setting a wedding date.
The wedding was Sept, 4, 2004 and it was the most incredible evening of my life. All my family, all of his family and all our friends watched as we stood there and said our vows. As I turned and faced the audience, I saw my mother and father holding hands, and my baby brother lying in my mom’s lap. That is the time I realized, we are all sons or daughter, parents or grandparents.
Five years later, I write this post, 8 months pregnant with our first child, a son, OUR son. Hubs and I have CREATED a family now. I think, being 20 something, you don’t realize how quickly life can change. How many changes really take place in your everyday life. This is a time of growth, of love, of loss and of creation.
We’ve been to weddings, we’ve been to funerals, we’ve been to births and parties and so much more, but now, as we embark on this new chapter in our lives, we all have to realize, whatever your family unit looks like, don’t take them for granted. Family is what you make it. Family is what you create. And family, though you don’t get to chose them, will teach you more and help you more, than you will ever know!
I couldn’t agree more, family is what you make of it. For some, family means you and your husband, for others it’s many siblings, parents, and for many family encompasses a lot of people with titles including “step-” & “half-“. I have many families, I have my relatives and also my family of friends. What does family mean to you?