June 6, 2012

We Are Family

As my summer vacation approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about families lately. As some of you know, I take an extended vacation each summer with members of both my immediate family and my extended family. This time away has become sacred to me.

Some of us are born into families and some of us choose our own. We may fall into families by becoming a part of their circle through a variety of relationships—boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, friend. Some people may even seek out others they've met at school or work and create their own version of family. It all works. And I'm finding out that what defines a family changes throughout the course of a lifetime. We tend to move away from the people who raised us in order to strike out on our own and declare our independence. It's only natural to try and break out of our childhood cocoons and away from the rules and restrictions that may have been enforced while growing up. Letting go of expectations and learning to appreciate the new roles people play is eye-opening.

What I have learned, and what I am still learning, is that a family—biological or not—is always growing. Sometimes it expands, sometimes it shrinks, and sometimes it comes full circle and you end up fostering the relationships you originally pulled away from in the first place.

My own family continues to evolve. People to whom I've been related to for decades I am just getting to know. Relationships that have sat dormant are beginning to stretch and blossom into precious gifts. And although through all of this positive growth and change; there have been some losses along the way too. I'm learning to accept this knowing that this may not always be the case. And even if it is, I will concentrate on strengthening existing bonds.

My children, my husband, my parents and sister, in-laws, even neighbors, and friends have all become members of my growing family. I am blessed and truly grateful for each and every one.

P.S. That's me in the bottom right sitting to the left of my cousin.


Sandy Merritt said...

So well put Kim!

Kimberly Merritt said...

Hmmm, wonder who I was referring to in this piece?

Thanks, Sandy!