10 Days of Thankfulness...
Day 1: Me!
Day 2: My Hubby!
Day 3: My Immediate Family!
Day 4: My Extended Family...
I come from a big family. My father was the second eldest of five kids, my mother was the youngest of seven. Each one of their siblings had at least one child, most had 2 or 3. I have 21 first cousins, and a plethora of second cousins etc. on down the line. Family gatherings are never small and we usually included great granparents, aunts, and uncles from all branches of the family. Even if people divorced, they were still family. As were their parents, siblings, etc. You get the picture.
I come from a community of family. A legacy of people who are always in one another's business (which can be terribly annoying or wonderfully supportive) but always have your back. They let you know when you're wrong, but stick around to help you pick up the pieces. I have never once worried about being homeless, hungry, or alone. If I have a way of reaching out, I know there will be a hand to hold.
As a military family, having that net(work) of people in my life has always been something I've taken for granted. It never occurred to me that there are people that don't have such connections. Families that abandon one another, can't stand one another, etc. and end up estranged permanently. I've never known that. Even as a child, coming home every summer and playing with my cousins; learning my heritage through my elders and traditions; and most importantly finding out how to take the curves life throws you with the support of people who love you instead of wading it out alone.
In getting married, I gained step-children and in-laws. It's been a grand expansion to my life. I guess technically they are all part of my immediate family now, so I should reconsider how I group them in my mind, but I love them all. The picture of my life is more colorful, active and loving for all the people that are in it. Both our girls and teenage son are a life lesson for me in every interaction. I love seeing them grow and learning new things to laugh about, watching the world through their eyes, and being a part of shaping the adults they will be come. What a blessing for me!
Did I mention that I am a godmother as well - that's another part of my family. It's pretty amazing to think that my little tree has so many branches. Some are better tended than others, some are stronger than others, but they are all mine and I adore them. Every flower and every root - I can't wait to gain more.
I am thankful for every single loved one I call family. They have taught me what community is supposed to be - at all levels. Reaching beyond your immediate self to those others that create your surroundings, not only acknowledging but embracing and supporting (even if that means being honest in the tough times) them is all part and parcel. Now I'm even more excited to go home to New Orleans for Christmas - I get to see my family!
What are you thankful for today?