Family is not an easy concept

December 9, 2015

in Confessions

Family may seem like a simple concept, but it isn’t.


Traditionally, we think of family as parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. The Census Bureau's definition of "family" remains traditional: "A family is a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together."


But a shared roof and supporting legal documents does not make a family.


Family is a group of people who stick together. They strengthen each other. They support each other. A family is there to love you, to be there in your darkest times and to celebrate in your victories. They are the people you would do anything for and the people who challenge you the most. And that isn’t always found through blood relation or legal documentation.


A family is not just the people you are related to, but also the people you choose.


My family started out by choosing me. I am not blood related to my mother, my father, my sisters, or even my grandparents. I was adopted when I was just a few days old. And though we lack the bond of blood, that group of people is my family. By choice.


Families don’t always look the same. They aren’t just mother, father, children anymore. Families may include a step-parent, children from a previous marriage, foster children. Two of the four children in my home are not related to me by blood or legal documentation, but they are still just as much a part of my family as the children in my home who are mine by blood. Because I chose to make them part of my family.


When those related to us by blood are no longer with us, or do not fill the roles we need them to, the definition of family expands. A family may be made up of friends, your military unit, your co-workers. It may be your sports team, your church group, your book club.


This holiday season I encourage you to expand your definition of family. Before you sit down at the table to a meal, think about who you choose to spend your time with. And think of those who need a family, who need love and support, and whose lives would change if you chose them to be part of your family.


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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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