Whether you can trace your joint ancestry or there are no blood-links at all, your family is made up from the people who know absolutely everything about you, but still love you fiercely. When we think of family, we usually bring to mind the folks we grew up with. Those who changed our diapers, fed us, took care of us when we were sick, and hugged us tightly whenever the world seemed to big. The one who sang silly songs and read stories to get you to sleep. The matriarch who stood beside your step-stool at the kitchen counter showing you how to peel an apple and crack an egg. The sibling who listened to you sob, uncontrollably when everything seemed to be crashing in around you, and the same one who celebrated with you when you discovered your intended path. The man who ran behind your first two-wheel bike holding on, until he didn’t, to watch you pedal wobbly down the sidewalk on your own. The woman who gave you hell when she discovered that you were unkind and irresponsible; the same one who showered you with praise when you made her insanely proud. These are your people, the ones you can rely on to support you when you are in pain, hold you to the promises you have made, and dance in the streets to share your joy.
I had the extreme good fortune to return to my childhood home this weekend to be coddled and to soak up the unconditional love from my mom and sister. It was a much-needed respite from my over-the-top, non-stop life of schedules and responsibilities, where I often forget to take care of myself. They were there to remind me that I need to fill my metaphorical cup on occasion so I can continue to do the work that has become my life.
Not everyone has the luxury of familial ties that provide that oasis of love and care in a desert of neglect. However, our human instinct leads us to seek out people who become all of that throughout our lifetime. We start developing those relationships as soon as we are independent enough to be on our own without a parent or caregiver within sight. They are our best friends, neighbors, and mentors - the elderly woman or gentleman who take us under their wing, as well as all the amazingly kind and generous people, who, serendipitously, enter our lives and change how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
This is a reminder to re-connect with your people – whether you are tied by the blood running through your veins, or not. Love on them – remind them how much they mean to you, and that you will be there for them, always, no matter what.