I have a lot, did you know!?
My Dad is the oldest of five. I have two Aunts and three Uncles and numerous cousins, who have all married and had boatloads of kids. We don’t get together too often but when we do, oh man, the stories! My Dad’s family is big and tough and independent and we joke that we “put the fun back in the word dysfunction”
I also have my Mom, and we are so alike at times it is scary. She gave me a terrific step-Dad named Gordon (by the way, Happy Anniversary today, you two lovebirds!) and my Aunt Cathy in Reno. I have two half sisters with six children born to them. There is Kelli and Sean up in Washington, and Chris and Cory down in California. When we first met they were 7 and 10 years old, and each of them lived with us for a bit as teenagers, so I still tend to think of them as my “little” sisters, despite the 20 plus years gone by…
and my own immediate family, created by this long steady marriage to sweet John and the creation of these three ornery boys that we keep trying to raise into men. This is the family that consumes my present mind, heart, energies and the majority of the scrapbooks and blog posts. A little house and a big heart, full to bursting with my present day family, and I wouldn’t want it any other way…
and with the original creation of that family, came the addition John’s family. How blessed I am by what I joke is “the Norman Rockwell yin to my family’s crazy yang”. How I appreciate his sweet Dad, Lee, who has always cared for me, and loves in ways that are sacrificial. Blessed too by Claudia, (who no one can tell me, isn’t real family!) and by John’s sister Sherri–she who continually steps out of her (naturally reserved!) personality in order to show her affection and care for us, and for her nephews.
For Claudia’s sisters and their families, who every Thanksgiving take us in as their own. Especially for John and Tara. I am still amazed that despite being a “blended” family, that any one of us who would do anything to help the others. Then, too are extended family in Yakima and beyond. If I started listing all of John’s Aunts and Uncles and cousins that mean so much to me? Well gosh, we’d be here all day…!
and the family of God? Well that is another post, all about the sisters and brothers I have been given, in Christ. Family who have understood me, supported me, taught me truth and loved me deeply. Even though occasionally we have hurt each other, and then forgiven each other with tears, as siblings tend to do!
But what I grew up with…
My first definition of FAMILY, was these:
My Dad, about 17 years older than me, my brother just 14 months younger.
Nothing stayed. Houses changed. Jobs changed. Schools changed.
Moms changed. Girlfriends changed. Housekeepers changed. Siblings changed.
What remained? This Dad. This brother.