When I was growing up I had lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. Some related by blood. Others just by close friendship. I even had three grandmas. But one thing that I remember is being reminded that someone was “not your real” cousin/aunt, etc. I went to a Catholic High School that began the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, school notices, and special prayer requests. When one of my grandmas died I asked for a prayer request. Later at home, I was told that I shouldn’t have because she was not a real grandmother. Even though I saw her more and loved her as much.
Well, now I’ve been married for almost 44 years and I realize I’ve never seen a need to distinguish anyone I love as not being real family to me.
In fact, what brought this especially to my mind lately is that two of our nieces are celebrating hard earned milestones this spring. One is receiving her PhD. The other is being ordained.
Should it matter to either my husband or I how they are related to either of us? Should one of us love and admire them more or less than the other? Why? How?
And should their success mean we are prouder of them than any of the others? Of course not. We feel blessed to know and love every single member of our family. And they all are an impressive lot.
So if we’re related in any way, by blood or not, I hope you also consider us as your family – without distinction or qualifier. Because isn’t love what makes a family anyway?