I come from a small family. My parents had 3 children; however my middle sister died at 3 before I was born and my older sister was, well, older…by 8 years. By the time I was 9 she left to go to school in Edmonton, Alberta. We half joke that we were raised as only children. I loved her and looked up to her, but I can’t say that we were ever really close.
My parents have now both passed away and my sister has had to deal with some health issues of her own so again, we are not in contact very often. When we do talk it is usually a long conversation about anything and everything. We both have a love of dogs so we share stories about ours and catch up on all the latest going on in our lives. And then it will be awhile before we make contact again. I still love her and I know she loves me – we are just very different people.
I married into a large family. My husband has 4 older siblings, 3 sisters and one brother. They, and their parents, have all made me feel part of the family. And when you add all the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. it is an amazing feeling to be included.
Enter a young woman from our church youth group. We met Kay about 10 years ago and she came to live with us on and off for the next 5 or so years. We lost touch for awhile but were reunited last summer. She now has two children whom she is raising on her own and has had many challenges; however, with a heart for Jesus and a love for those two little ones, she is doing an incredible job.
This summer we helped her out by watching them for a bit, while she handled a few things that needed to get done to have a better life. We came to love these two little ones as if they were our own grandchildren. But we don’t pretend they are as they have grandparents who love them to bits. We have grown very attached to them and they seem to like us as well!
Today I brought Kay’s Mom home from the hospital after having knee surgery. I really enjoyed spending the time with her as I don’t get to often. I am mainly in the lives of Kay and her kids. Then Kay calls me and says one of the kids is sick so I rush over and am back at the hospital. I have the younger one who is spending the night and it is so good to have a little one in the house. It was just second nature…like I would do for a sister.
These people have become family to me – and I couldn’t be more blessed. They are not related by blood, but by something more important – God’s love. He put them in our lives and I believe it is a win-win situation for all involved.
I was never blessed with children of my own and for a long time this fact hurt very deeply. However, I found myself babysitting for people who normally couldn’t afford one – I did it for the opportunity to spend time with great kids. I was a live-out nanny for a couple of years for two families. One of them is also considered family and their boys, who are now young men, are as much mine as their own Mom. We helped out with our church youth group for several years and I swear half the kids became part of our family.
Finally, I have befriended some people through the internet that I have never met in person though I hope some day I will. I have grown very close to a few and would consider them family just because we share our ups and downs and are there for each other.
Family does not have to just include those who are related by blood or marriage. Family can be an attitude, a state of mind, a will of God, a choice.