I was lucky enough to be born into the best family in the world. OK, maybe I’m a bit biased, but I know a handful of others who would agree with me! I come from a large family – five sisters and one brother. Start adding brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews and well, we practically need to rent a hall for family gatherings. Our parents, married 40 years, are the rock of our family. They raised my siblings and I on high standards, strong values, a deep faith and – most importantly – the feeling that no matter what one of us goes through, we all go through it together.
Take my accident for example (blog post with details on what exactly happened to me will be coming at a later date). I was only nine years old. I spent five weeks in the hospital. But not one day was I ever alone. My mom stayed with me Monday – Friday. My dad on weekends. And my siblings came to visit often, as well as other family and family friends. My dad said that our family had to find a “new normal” to move on. Key word – family. Not just me. We all, together, were affected by my accident. We all, together, were going to survive it. We all, together, did.
You’d think with a family of such a large size that there’d be drama, fights, people who refuse to be in the same room as each other…
But that’s what I love the most about my family – there isn’t any of that! When we manage to get together, ALL of us, it’s nothing but laughs, some tears, and always happy memories. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are disagreements. There are fights (especially when we were younger – come on, 9 people in one house with only two bathrooms?? There was hair pulling and curling irons being thrown). But now that we’re all grown and have families of our own, we truly cherish the times we get together.
We reserve Christmas every second year to get together, ALL of us, at our parents’ to celebrate. Every summer we reserve the third weekend in August to go on a camping trip – sometimes we can’t all make it to this. Summer is a busy time for everyone. But we all try as hard as possible. This year, we were missing three members of our family. My husband – he had to work. With three kids, pets and wife to feed, he had to go. My sister-in-law and brother were also unable to make it but for good reason – they quit their jobs earlier this year to travel the world for a year (check out Couple Of Suitcases on Facebook and Instagram to follow their journey). But my amazing family made sure to include them as much as possible. My sister and I, without knowing the other was doing it, made cutouts of each of their faces so they could be in pictures at our family camp out.
Of course it wasn’t the same as having them there in person, but it shows how much we love each other. How much we don’t want anyone to feel left out. How much we are all together, no matter how far apart we all are.
Having a family that I know will be there for me with everything, good or bad, that I may go through is a feeling I can’t begin to describe. And I hope they know that I’m always there for them. I owe them my life. Because they saved mine. Twenty-four years ago and in more ways than they’ll ever know. More details on that to come. I hope you have people in your life that you can count on as much as I can count on my siblings, in-laws, and parents. They don’t have to be blood related, they just have to love you unconditionally. Nobody should ever feel alone. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the crazy group I call my family.