Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Family (a loaded word)

I have been thinking about writing a post on family for a while now. It's been hard though because it's such a
loaded word. It means so many different things to so many different people. Sometimes your circumstances define for you what family is.Quite often it's your culture. MY view of family has changed quite a bit over the years.I used to think it was the people you were actually related to,by blood , or by marriage. Indeed,it is the first definition in the dictionary.I don't dispute this.That IS the legal definition of family and to some that is all that matters.It is NOT all that matters to me. I believe that family needs to be synonymous with Love, or else it isn't family.Now with that being said ~ there are a lot of different kinds of love. This is where it gets complicated for me.There are some people I love dearly such as my husband , children, mother, etc etc. I should probably clarify the etc. but I really don't have the time or space or inclination. Moving on......Some I love sincerely and am proud to say that I am related to them. I feel a bond with them because we shared a childhood, memories and continued contact because of said earlier relations. These are usually my cousins and aunts and uncles. Now as we move along in time and as we grow, we sometimes move away from these earlier relations to forge out on our own. Whether this is spiritual, physical or even mental.....we DO move along! Well.....at least I have. I had better start speaking from my perspective! Some people are born into a family and never leave. Not physically, not mentally , not spiritually!To those of you who are in that situation....good for you! It's just not for me! Anyway........ I think the whole reason I started thinking of doing this post,is because of recent developments within my life. The people who are in it, their relationship to me ; and those who are no longer an active part of my life but are there nonetheless. My loyalties have come into question. My obligations have become blurred. My time and energy strained because of 'family'!It's hard not to get into details. I don't really want to do that because as much as I don't want to censor myself; I also do not want to hurt those who will be affected by my "airing of dirty laundry'!(so to speak)
SO........This may sound harsh but....I am related to some people that I don't particularly like. Some by blood and some by marriage.I am also related to some people that I don't even KNOW. I mean, there are lots of them. I obviously don't know my entire family tree!! but there are some, that are fairly close, geographically, that I do not KNOW, and don't care to know. I'm not interested in finding out WHO they are .I'm quite fine with keeping them at a distance. Some have already burned bridges and shown their true colors and some are just not that interesting to me. It sounds cruel but really.....do you seek out people to get to know because you find them uninteresting, or you already have a beef with them and want to be BFF's??? Ummmm no! You do not! So why do some feel that this relationship should be nurtured at all costs because they are "family"? That is not what family means to me. I have some friends who are in no way "related" to me, whom I consider family! I love them and would do just about anything for them. They are more like family to me than some that share the same blood or the same last name! Is there a rule that says they must come second because of this? NO! Perhaps there are those who feel these way! I KNOW there are. But this is NOT my reality. Life is waaaaay too short to be putting these restrictions on my life of who must have more of my time and energy. I'm sorry but....I DECIDE that!!!!! I'm sure a few of you can relate!
Now don't get all pissy because you think I'm not devoted to my family or don't care about them. Even the ones who are not a part of my life;still mean something to me. I do not wish them any ill will. I would be upset if something were to happen to them. I'm not totally against family!!! lol I really just think we should take a hard look at what that word means.I don't think we should give it so much POWER! When parents lock their child in a cage and refuse to let her out to use the washroom, or to go outside, shoot her with cold water from a hose and beat her with a pole.......ummm sorry......but you do not get to use the word FAMILY! click here to see more SICK!I think back in the day....maybe the word held more meaning , but to me....it really has lost its luster. I'm not sure what word should be taking its place but.......'family' has been abused so much that when someone throws it in my face ...: "THEY'RE FAMILY!!!"  It really has no impact on me! To me this is something that needs to be earned, like love. Not something that is just doled out. Of course children and babies always hold a special place because they do NOT know what family is. They only know love. They don't categorize. They don't have expectations. You see how complicated it becomes???? What does the word "family" mean to you?


  1. I hear you. I agree. Although being a natural " healer" temperament ( Keirsey temperaments) I naturally want healing to take place in conflicted relationships and yes- sometimes I search out difficult relationships just to do that- family or no.
    But you are right. I feel the same way- at least you are being candid. I also love most of my family - but since teenage hood my friends were my family support and still are to this day. It is a different spiritual family hood that is unexplainable. SOme get it - some don't.
    I like this perspective- less pressure. I get annoyed too with the " we are family" things. It makes it tougher not easier. I prefer the saying " But we are friends" Or " but we love each other" that means more to me.

    I have to say I completely agreed. Thanks for just saying what you feel.

  2. OK, I just wrote out a big ole response and somehow lost it...words were said, meds were taken, and I'm back baby!

    I understand this very well on so many levels. One of the best examples of this for me was our wedding. We had come to an agreement on how many guests each side of the family could have in attendance. I'd say 2/3rds of mine were friends. I grew up embracing friends as family, this is something my parents cultivated. The other side had all family. Their WHOLE guest list. Then decided they were bitter about the lack of friends they were able to invite. Excuse me, that was their CHOICE! Take your 3rd cousin twice removed off the list and presto! a spot would have opened up for a friend. For them blood is ALL that matters. For me, this was OUR WEDDING DAY. I wanted people around me who knew me, loved me and who I really hoped would continue to be in my life by choice for many years to come. These are the kind of people I want to invest my time in. Not those who demand, or manipulate, or control (same standards for friends and family here) So yes, my definition of family is broad and does not require any blood work. I pray...PRAY that my kids will view Stu and I reliable family and dependable friends for the long haul.
    You walk the walk Erin, you have been family to me when people I have to get together with on occasion weren't. Not just you though, your whole family...it's a gift you and Brad have:)
    I love you Erin and I love your thought process as well!

  3. thank you for your comments kmarie! I know you get it! And Bobbi! Love you too! You are my family whether you like it or not. I will force myself into your life for the rest of mine! bahahahahahahah That's part 2 of this blog! LMAO!

    No need to force Missy, you are MOST welcome...just keep the hugs to a minimum...family policy!

  5. no can do! Hugs are a must! you will LEARN to love them!

  6. I totally get what you mean and sometimes its really hard to manage it all. Enjoy your day and I love your blog. kisses


I truly appreciate your comments and look forward to reading them!