Wednesday, March 12, 2014

That Weird Thing We Call Family


Family: a word we all know. Latin in origin. Noun. Adjective. As much as you analyze it, nothing about the word itself can tell you how complicated the actual definition and application of the word in real life are.
1. A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.

2. All the descendants of a common ancestor.
1. A bunch of people who hate each other and eat dinner together.

2. The close relationship among a body of human beings through blood. Usually are annoying and invasive around the holidays.

But my favorite definition was the third one:

3. People you love and who love you back, not necessarily blood or biological, but you trust them and they trust you, and they take care of you and you take care of them. 

Family is something of a mystery to me, and probably to you. We all have at least two sets of family: the family you're born with and the family you choose. Sometimes they're the same. Sometimes they're a mix. Sometimes they're a completely different set of people. But most of the time, we find our own family. Family that we can actually tolerate. And sometimes, just sometimes, we are lucky enough to find people who love us unconditionally just because they want to. 

People like that are what keep us going. It seems to be a fact, one that many find inconvenient. But we need human contact. We need people to love us. We need people to care about us. We need people to lean on when things suck. But on the other end of the stick, we need to be those people. We all know that it makes us feel good when someone complains to us. Because it means that they care, or at least, they think we care. Sometimes, we need to know that we are important to people. Important enough that they lean on us. Now granted, sometimes they lean a little too far and they fall off your shoulder and its funny. But nevertheless, family is important. 

The formal definition of the word 'family' includes something about blood and DNA and all that crap. But to take a line from my favorite snarky private dick VMars, "Can a lab-tech really see the shape of my soul?" And yes, I am aware that it sounds a little corny. Get over it people. Who we are, fundamentally, is shaped by the people we love. The people we allow ourselves to associate with. And if we're lucky, these people, crazy people that they are, love us unconditionally. No matter if they have a genetic obligation to or not. Sometimes the genetic obligation may require nothing more than the yearly Christmas card and a chit chat at the occasional family wedding. But sometimes, that light obligation can turn into a strong bond. 

So, let's all just take a minute and think about some people. People who love you because you are you. People who lend an ear when you want to complain. People whose complaining you've endured. People who you eat dinner with, no matter how much you love them at that moment. People who will always be there for you, no matter how badly you screw up. People who will be there for you even when they aren't really in the mood. 

So, here is my order. STOP!! Stop what ever it is you are doing, pick up the phone. Call or text or message or email. I don't really care. But remind someone how much they mean to you. Because even thought, deep down they know, it gets easy to forget.

And also, think about this quote. (Another page from the book of VMars). "Faith. You Give it to the ones you love, but the people who really deserve it, are the ones who come through even when you don't love them enough." Until next time my lovelies, ponder what I said.

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