I’ve learned so much about family in the past few years.
Family can be blood – or not. Family can be friends. Family can be the community you live in, work or socialise with. You can adopt a family – make your own, or choose to be an orphan within a very large one.
All very intriguing.
Growing up, my own family lived far away from our extended families, but I always remember when we returned for long summer holidays how completely we were embraced and how totally I felt that I belonged. I always thought that was about blood, but I can see now that it was much more about acceptance and unconditional generosity.
And when you think about it, we are all capable of acceptance and unconditional generosity.
I am fortunate. I have a big family. It makes me uncomfortable that I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. Life gets in the way, and looking after my own little family needs to come first (especially this year), but just knowing they are there makes me warm. I also have friends that are very much family, and that is such a gift.
Zara drew a family tree for school that was put into a collective book this year, and it made me so happy. She left a lot of people out, and worried for days about who should have been in there as well. I was thrilled that she had such an all-encompassing attitude to it. That friends & their children were family (blood or not), that people we like should have been included. That random branches grew and spilled over the page. And it got me thinking about who we let in and why, and about people who may find themselves alone at this time of year and be feeling the sting.
And what I would do if it were me.
I think I would get out there and make someone happy. Maybe random people. Maybe giving strangers flowers or leaving books in the park and at bus shelters. Putting gifts under wishing trees and thinking about the smile on the recipient’s face. If I had no money and nobody to spend the day with I would volunteer at a soup kitchen, because you would be in contact with so many others who needed a smile on that day because I have discovered, that putting a smile on a strangers face is an enormously expansive experience.
Because we are all family. All of us.
And we are all blessed simply to be here and breathing don’t you think.