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family as a word

Family, as a word, is simply one word. But the meaning behind this one word is so varied and complex it's quite far from being simple. As a word, it's defined in a myriad of ways and the traditional definition of a family unit is now far ranging and inclusive of a variety of relations and situations. So to me, family may simply be one word, however it is one of the most complex of single words I know.

My family is complex and my understanding and definition of family has been molded, remolded, defined, redefined and adapted through marriages, divorces, births, deaths, adoptions, friendships and pets. We can have a multitude of families in our lifetime, and just as the ocean tide varies from high to low, our families continually grow and shrink. Friendships blossom throughout life and many of those friends become family merely by the foundation of the friendship. Regardless, what I know to be true is each of us defines who our family is comprised of, and this is okay. Family is personal, and it's up to every individual to either accept or adjust their own family unit.

True family to me, is deeper and broader than blood and names, it's the people who offer the support needed to thrive as a human. It's people who love you and you love back, you trust them and they trust you, they take care of you and you take care of them. It's people who you speak about and who speak about you with honest, open, transparent dialogue. Life is short, and family adds depth to the days we have.

While the majority of my "blood" family is now in the earth marked by stones, I know in my heart their spirits will continue to guide me and my "family" will continue to ebb and flow. The family I have above ground is an incredible and dynamic group of people and pets, a compilation of so many who may not even know I consider them family, but I do! I'm fortunate in life and I'm honored to know each and every one of you.

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