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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celebrating the fulfilled lives and the ones still flourishing…

Family does not just represent a group of people who are related through blood or marriage. To me, family extends far beyond that. With life (through different exposures and situations) we create relationships/connections with others, which bring love, happiness, joy, and at times pain, but overall meaningfulness to our lives. We create extended families and although you may not have that same “unconditional” love that comes through the birth line (or you feel for your own blood), they bring to your life a special kind of love that a traditional family can’t.
They become your brothers, sisters, uncles; aunties not only to you and yours but to your whole natural family…blended families.

I’m one of eleven, in a tight bunch of siblings, so naturally, some might say, “Why do you need to add to that?” You don’t need to add, it’s actually a seamlessly discerning and selective process, and one where you almost have no choice in the matter… pieces just fall into place and it just make sense. We call them brothers, sisters, cousins and uncles (when the relationship has been passed on from our parents); my children call them uncles, aunties and cousins because those who have been included into our family unit, care, love, and act as role model to them and as a support system to us.

We are taking an impromptu road trip to Detroit this weekend, to celebrate the life of our brothers’ (and sisters’, from a different womb) father, who left his small, earthly house for the BIG house to join his wife. Unfortunately, I didn't know the man well. I actually only met him (briefly) once, but I have met and love his kids (although not all of them, as they have us beat by 3). These are my husbands’ "brothers and sisters" and through them, I know how great of a man he must have been to have raised such beautiful kids. I had to be part of the celebration of his life, not only to support my family, but being a parent myself, I can only hope that I will be given the opportunity to see my children through adulthood and be parents themselves. Only then, I’d feel that my job was fulfilled and I could leave them before they left me.... Doesn't that deserve a celebration? Shouldn’t there be a “going away party” for a job well done? It’s almost like an athlete or actor who retires at the height of his/her career, having accomplished all there was to achieve.

While on the road with the hubby (him driving and my babies in the back seat), I think of all the people who have left us, how family trees renew themselves through births and marriages... and the importance of being there for each other regardless of distance, discord, or differences. I’m praying that when the time comes for the hubby and I to depart this world, that I would have done a fantastic job in teaching my kids to first cherish each other and their extended circle. So when they need “it”, they also will have the “unconditional” support to see them through anything.

On our way, I got a voicemail from a friend, and when I say “friend”, I mean it in the true value of the word, even though we have lost touch for so many years. The fact that I can't remember why, testifies to the triviality of the reason. We've been trying to reconnect for the pass few months through messenger, Facebook and voicemail but can’t seem to get each other on the phone. In her voicemail, she said something beautiful that touched me. She was full of regret about the fact that she has lost so many friends, (good friends) due to not keeping in touch. And because now, in retrospect, she realizes that it was due to foolish reasons (and while she deals with her regret), she wants to make sure that I don’t make the same mistakes with my friends. She said, “Life is too short to be wasted with petty stuff”. I’m touched because, thankfully, I’ve maintained my bonds, and while working on bringing back our relationship to where it needs to be, she wants to make sure that I’m ok. That’s true friendship.

So as we celebrate the life of the ones that have left us, let's never forget to mend those broken relationships! Learn to deal with the ups and down you go through (arguing, breaking up and naturally making up as family members or friends) because when you look back, you’ll see how funny and silly the reasons were. As you know, hindsight is always 20/20. I can successfully say, without those bumps that come along the way in any relationship, we wouldn't be standing strong and proud today of our sister/brotherhood.

It's never too late...unless time runs out and leaves you full of regret.‎

"No matter your perception of immediate and extended family life, one thing that most every family can agree on is that the common denominator is love. Whether it's open, mountain-top-shouting love, or demure, cloaked affection, the love of a family is precious and irreplaceable"

Does this resonate to you? Do your life seems as though it wouldn't be complete without your extended family?

        Love always,

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