The Ties That Bind

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Dictionary.com defines the word “family” as “a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a  group, whether dwelling together or not”…in my opinion, that definition is a far cry from what a family really is. It simply does not do the word justice.

The bond between family members automatically supersedes marriage, friendships, work relations…it is something created by blood, created by history, created by something bigger, stronger, more important than anything else on earth. It is something that you can not create, no matter how hard you try.

There are some members of my family that I go years without seeing.  Yet, each time we meet, it is as if no time has passed. They are always present in my heart, in my thoughts – even in their absence, they are part of my every day life.

You grow up with family members. Birthday parties, BBQs, Christmas Dinner, family vacations, reunions – I grew up surrounded by family and all of my childhood memories are wrapped up in my memories of my family. I am the person that I am today because of each and every family member.

Does that mean that each member of the family is perfect? Does it mean that I am perfect? Does it mean that each and every person in our family are best friends at all times? No. Because we are human. Do we anger each other, hurt each other, betray each other, ignore each other? Yes. Because we are human. Do we drop what we are doing when a family member needs our help? Do we give of ourselves unconditionally, without need of repayment? Do we offer the shoulder to cry on when it is needed? Do we forgive and forget when mistakes are made? Yes. Because we are human.

We do not do these things for friends. When a friend betrays, we cut off ties. We erase their contact information from our cell phones. We delete them from our Facebook. We stop having lunch together. We stop moving in the same social circles. In other words, we remove them from our lives. Within days, it is as though they never existed.

You can not do that with family. Your family is a part of  who you are. That old adage goes, blood is thicker than water.  Sometimes it is so thick you almost drown in it. Sometimes it it so thick you simply can not see an inch in front of your face. Sometimes you want to walk away, wipe the slate clean…swim in a clean, fresh pool and detach yourself. But you can not.

Your family is your family. Family is your mother, your father, your sisters, your brothers, your aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins…your family is your life.

There are times in your life when you may think things would be easier if you could only get away from your family. I have thought that, I am sure everyone has. For every ONE time I have thought that, there are TEN MILLION times I have thought that I could not exist without my family.

And I could not.

No matter what heartache your family may put you through, it will never compare to the heartache of not having your family at all.

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