They say you can not pick your family; that you are simply born into the one that you have. But what really is family? Is family only determined by blood? If that is a case, most married couples are not really family they are bound by law as a unite. Only the children born of that union are family. Is family determined by those who are close to you and are there in the good and the bad times? Is family those who know you most, the sides of you that you wish others to see AND the sides you wish to keep hidden? Is family those who support you when you feel you can go no further and those who push you when you have not reached your greatest potential?
I believe family is more of the latter part of that. I think blood is simply that. It is blood. Nothing is certain. And for many people, we learn that those who share our DNA are not the ones who are there for us the most. They are not the ones we share holidays or call first with great news. For some of us, our families come in the form of friends. At least that is the way it all starts. A simple meeting and hello. Over time a deeper relationship builds and memories occur. Then you learn these people are the ones you call when something goes wrong or incredibly right in your life. They are the ones who come at 3:00 am when your cars are on fire (that is a whole other story). They are the ones you travel with and share the holidays.
That is my definition of family. And in that essence Mikey and I have an amazing family. Over the time we have lived in Pensacola, we have been given a family that would challenge any others and still be standing at the end of the day. We are fortunate to have the friends in our lives who we consider to be family. Over this week I plan to introduce you to some of our family so you get to know them and what they mean to me (I can not speak for Mikey, he can leave comments to fill you in.)
This Sunday, we attended Sanders birthday party. He turned four years old. We are fortunate to have Sander; his mother, Natalie; father, Kevin; and younger brother, Aidan in our lives. And this Sunday it really hit me just how special they are. Kevin and Natalie have ALWAYS been comfortable having us around their sons and we have come to love both of the boys immensely. All four are an important aspect of our lives.
I hate when a large amount of time passes and we do not see them. However, when we do gather, it is as if we just spent talked the day before. We laugh and we play. Mikey and I are treated by Kevin and Natalie as if we are people. This is just how it is or is it?
So over time, I have become very comfortable and never think twice. In their eyes I am who I am and Mikey is who he is. They NEVER make us feel we are outcast or different. So I forget that not all see us the same way. I had an experience at the birthday party. A migraine headache hit me on the way to the party. But there was no question, I was not going to miss it. The party was at a location where they have large inflatables for children and adults to play in. Over time I began to not feel so great. I went over and sat down and watched the children, Mikey and Kevin run around from inflatable to inflatable.
After a bit of time a little girl (dressed in pink) walked over and began to talk to me. She climbed up in a chair near me and started to talk. In about a minute, her mother came over and sat between us. The little girl got out of her chair and walked over. She was jumping up and down and talking. She was very cute. But I got the feeling her mother was not real happy. Her body language said a great deal. In a short period of time her mother got up and redirected the little girl to another area of the room. As she stood watching her daughter, she continued to glance back my way in a glaring way. It took me a moment to understand. I believe (yes it is me taking in the stimulus and interpreting it) she was not comfortable having me near her daughter.
You see, I am never treated that way by Kevin and Natalie. They allow us to be part of their children’s lives. It is an everyday occurance. We spend holidays together and times throughout the year. We go to the birthday parties; we hold the boys and play games with them. The Kerns are part of our lives and they never treat us like we are outcast. We are treated as equals. So much so, that I forget not all feel the same way. So when I encounter “the mother” it throws me off and brings me to an aspect of the real world my family helps me to forget.
One thing the Kerns will never know, they give me a gift that can not be expressed in words. And for that I am very grateful to them.
Can you pick your family? I say you can. They come in the form of friends and sometimes they act more like family than those who share our DNA.