Family by Choice

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No matter who we are, our life choices, or the number of people we are surrounded by, all of us want to know that we are not alone. We want people in our lives that know us for who we really are and love us in spite of knowing. We call those people family.

It used to be that you were bound together first by blood, then by clan, and then you took a mate and accepted their community as your own as well. But that isn’t the way it is anymore.  For many reasons people have begun to accept that just because you were born into family by blood doesn’t mean they are the ones who truly know you and love you.

Love is a word overused and meaningless without something behind it.

I really wish people would just stop saying how much they love someone they don’t even know.  Don’t tell me that you love me when you have never seen me on a terrible day, choking on my tears, threatening to scratch the eyes out of the next person who looks at me.  Don’t tell me that you love me when you have never made the effort to spend any kind of time with me to hear what I have to say and love me even when you don’t agree with a word I say.

Blood doesn’t make you family, it makes you genetically related.

I don’t want people forced into my life who don’t want to be there.  Instead I have this place in my heart for my family, for the ones that have forged a relationship with me.

I adore my children, and I make time and effort to actually get to know them and appreciate even when I don’t agree with them.  But I also understand that they too will create a family bond with people who aren’t linked to them with similar genes. Because they’ve seen that family doesn’t mean related, it means people who actually are interested in being a part of your life and make it work against all odds.

I don’t want to have to be sorry for how I feel.

If you knew me, loved me for the complicated and unique person I am, I wouldn’t have to feel bad for saying that I want more than a message on social media quarterly out of some sense of duty.  I want a connection to the people in my life, a knowing that is so personal and loving that I don’t have to be told that they love me and walk away questioning that statement as fact or routine.

I don’t want to feel like I am standing on the side and watching a family that isn’t really mine, yet related.

Through tragedy you know where your heart belongs.

I’ve had some pretty big losses recently. I’ve had moments where I just wanted to climb into bed and pull the covers over my head. However, my family gathered, called, tugged, annoyed, teased, and moved me from my tear filled pillows.  I didn’t need to actually see their faces to hear their voices. Many called from across the country, texted so many times that I wanted to throw my phone because they were so annoying and yet so perfect that it ruined my perfectly bad mood.

My family, the ones who truly are the ones I love, knew that I was having a hard time and each of them in their own way knew exactly what to do.   I can’t say that about anyone else, including those I am related to.

Your heart knows who belongs there.

There are people that when I met them, I smiled.  In fact, I just knew they were part of my family when we met.

I have sisters who really are the biggest pain in the ass and I love them all. But I am really glad I didn’t have to grow up with them in my house. We would have driven each other crazy.

I have brothers that are loyal and protective, the kind of guys that you can’t help but to love because they are perfect.  And when I lost one of them, I honestly felt like I lost a part of who I am.

I have a husband that loves me and is there for me in ways that exceed expectations, a best friend, a person I can scream at and who will call me out when I am wrong.

I have bonds with people that have been in my life through the craziest changes and still truly love me.

These are the people I call family.

And even my dogs, I know they are my family because I can feel that bond and love. I trust in their affection for me and I adore them for who they are and I don’t even care that they aren’t human. They are family.

Don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t want to know you.

Those people in your life that judge you and tear you apart, but call it “advice” or just stating their opinions that they feel entitled to give, they are not your family.

No, not everyone is going to approve of your hair, job, relationship, but the ones who truly love you will ask how you feel about those things and do their best to understand why.  And when you are going down a path that might not be best for you, they will love you enough to come to you and talk. And you will know that they love you enough to say something real and not just pretend.

But don’t settle to have people in your life that don’t want to get to know the amazing person you are.  Don’t make room at the table for those who think they have a right to be there just because they are related, fill that space with people who want to be there right next to you because you are their whole world too.

Family are the ones that will as someone said to me this morning “we know how to pick each other up when it’s needed. Or to just grab a shovel and a find a desolate place in the woods.”

 

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