7 Feb 2021
The word family can mean a lot of things, at different times and in different situations.
There’s the traditional/nuclear family – parent/s and children, and there’s then the wider version of family – grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles and cousins.
Then of course there’s the Christmas and funerals version of family, which is anyone who has ever married into the family, or been related to someone who married into the family.
There’s a connection to all these versions of family, whether genetic or not.
But the concept of a family applies in groups who have not grown up together, with a biological or familial connection. There’s work families, sport families, school families, church families, club families, families brought together through a shared experience, and families linked by illnesses.
All different but real versions of a family. A common connection, no less real than a genetic link.
To me the definition of family is people who care about you. Ones who will be there for you, who will accept you as you are.
And vice versa.
We really miss our immediate family connections when separated by lockdowns and restrictions. Grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren is the one I hear about the most, but parents not being able to physically support their children if one or the other is separated by distance is hard on both parties.
Families don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but the ability to overlook differences is one of the characteristics of family.
In the last twelve months, we have learned that the concept of family is very very broad. People we don’t know and will never meet, from countries or places we have not, and likely will never visit, are easily now identified to us as family.
Because we have something in common.
We always did have something in common, it just took a microscopic virus to make it obvious to us.
Let’s hope we don’t forget.
And let’s hope that my rule of ‘family accepting each other’s differences’ holds true on a larger scale of family.