Monday, October 22, 2012

Family Redefined

As the holidays quickly approach, thoughts turn to family. Normally, when we think of family, the nuclear family comes to mind: Mom, Dad, Kids. If pressed, we’ll include extended family: grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Of course, that is family and there is nothing wrong with that. When it’s good, it’s great. However, that isn’t always what a family looks like.

Yes, the single parent home is now more common than a two-parent home. Even the definition of a two-parent home is changing, but I’m not talking about that either.

I’m a 44-year old single woman with no kids. Technically, I don’t have a traditional (nuclear) family to speak of. True, I have a father (whom I’m very close to) and a sister and a step family – yet I live a day’s drive away. I have aunts and uncles and cousins but not a lot of family that I’d consider myself close to.

Yet, if the definition of family is based more on having people who love, support, understand and accept you and less on marriage and blood, I do have family … and a great one at that. I am surrounded by friends who give me the emotional support that is normally associated with family.

These are people who ‘get’ me. While my blood relatives love me, as the creative and sensitive type, they don’t always understand me. My friends do. When the going gets tough, they are the ones I turn to first and they, in turn, turn to me when they need support. They are the ones with whom I share the good times with too. These are the people whom I experience live with. I cherish them.

Often single people like me are assumed to be lonely or in need of someone to make us whole. While I would love to have a partner to share my life with, I have a family now. When and if the right man comes, he’ll be welcomed into two great families – the one I was born into and the one I created.

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