I’ve learned something really important over the last four months and that’s the importance of family. Many times we get overwhelmed in the process of planning family gatherings, especially over the holidays but the truth is family reunions are made for renewing bonds’. In 2014 I was blessed to have taken part in two family reunions and one rather large family gathering. Looking back on all three, I realize how important these bonds truly are, not just in theory, but in real life experience and how they bring us together. Family is one of the greatest connections we have. We’re made and many times defined by how we see ourselves through our family’s eyes. Our families impact and sculpt us, sometimes through destructive and turbulent ways and other times with stillness, peace and harmony. Their very act of accepting or rejecting us can decide the direction we take in life. Webster’s Dictionary defines connections as this: The act of connecting, the state of being connected, one that connects; a link. This is Family.
Do we always get along or agree, nope, not in the least but when the cards fall family pulls together, we protect one another and we circle the wagons. We stand together or we fall. Sure we may disagree, heck we may even spend months if not years apart, but when the dust truly settles, our lives are always connected. Whether we realize it or not, life has a way of sitting us right back down at the same family table each and every time.
Disagreements, misunderstandings never remove our place from the family table; we just have to decide when we’re thirsty or hungry enough to put our plate back down and pull up our chair. Pride is usually the culprit in most family squabbles when everything else is stripped away, an opinion vs someone else’s two cents, but do we really want to live our lives wasted, filled with un-forgiveness, jaded and for what, pride? We can’t always see eye to eye, it’s not humanly possible but we can forgive, genuinely let go and pass the potatoes!
At the end of the day, it’s not about who’s right or who’s wrong, who hurt who or what was said. It comes back to family, being part of something bigger than ourselves. The reality is family can be exhausting at times, the complete kind of head banging, driving you up a wall and out the door kind of madness. Sadly many times we fail to realize family is not always about us individually, and our own definitions of a perfect picked fence home life. Family is greater than our own wants, desires, aspirations and our personal needs. Family truly is about how we put ourselves last, aside, for those we love. Family is not something we use as leverage; instead they are the ones we sacrifice everything for. Family is the very heartbeat, the core and the true essence of who we are. Family in its purest form is about unconditional love. When we finally say our last goodbyes, our memories will be defined by how we both gave and received this love.
As for me, my family is a gift. I have been blessed to grow up surrounded by two sides of family, and inherit another who loves me. I could not and would not want to do life without any of them. Each family has molded me, made me and left footprints in my life. We laugh; we cry, reminisce, celebrate, argue, disagree and come together time and time again. Some bonds just can’t be broken, like Georgia Florida line says. “That’s how we do it around here.”