On Family

For our US readers, Thanksgiving is in a few days. Most folks are talking about their plans, who is cooking, or where they’re traveling. Many of us will be with family. I’m very lucky to have a small, but loving family with whom I spend holidays…and I know that’s not true for everyone.

If this time of year is challenging or uncomfortable for you, or if your family members aren’t supportive or available, know this: family is whomever you say it is.

My husband often tells the story of a Thanksgiving many years ago. His niece (really his best friend’s kid), when she was very young, made everyone go around the table and declare one thing they’re thankful for. Hubs thing was “Friends who make better family than some relatives.” He’s one of the people who declared who his family is. They’re his people and his side of the family, despite having no genetic relationship.

Family can be neighbors, friends, fur babies, people you just met or blood relatives you’ve known your whole life. There’s no wrong way to do family.

When my cousin moved to FL a few years ago, she and her partner weren’t able to come back North for every holiday so they started creating family with colleagues and neighbors at the holidays.

I share these stories to illustrate the many meanings that the word family can have.

This time of year can be a struggle for many folks for many reasons. Find the people who feel like family to you. Be extra kind to yourself and to others. You never know who might really benefit from your kindness.

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