First thing’s, first. The word family – what does it mean?
Origin of the Word FAMILY
Middle English familie, from Latin familia household (including servants as well as kin of the householder), from famulus servantFirst Known Use: 15th century.
I am also grateful to have a family that accepts my significant other and his children and loves them as family, treating them with dignity, kindness and gasp – even love! In fact, in my family it is near impossible to decipher who the “real kids” are from those that stumbled into our lives by fate or circumstance.
I love and I accept and I treat everyone in my home as if they belong here because in my heart, my soul, and my eyes – they do! It’s who I am, how I am – and more – it is what I believe is right! I say I love them, I include them in everything my family does – I buy them things, ask how their day was – even. when. I. don’t. have. to.
There are eight of us in this home – myself, my husband, “my” two kids, “his” two kids, my granddaughter and her mother. When I have to put a title to the group I sometimes say our five kids and granddaughter. Because, biology means nothing in the grander scheme of who I love and what makes up my family. Yep, I even lump in the 27 year old that would have made me an eight year old mother when I say our kids! Why single anyone out, anyway?
Defining Character … In no situation would I ever deliberately ignore or degrade another human being, refuse to get to know them (much less speak to them!) or, even worse – attack they or their family’s morals, character and integrity simply because that one individual made a bad choice, or, because they weren’t a part of my family. It was a harsh dose of reality for me to learn that people literally do such a thing. Harder still, was to see someone I love become the target of ignorance, disrespect, and downright hate just for basically existing – yes people, grown adults can and do make children feel this way! Sick, right?
I suppose though, that once I give you a chance to show me who you are – and you show me someone that is that way – well, then, I’m off the hook. I don’t have to like you! And, you certainly do not have to like me! But, even if I don’t personally like you (and believe me – it’s hard to get on that list!), I’m not one to attack, degrade or go out of my way to insult you – especially not in a public forum. You know, like Facebook? Even here, I’m intentionally vague, broad and this specific conversation actually does apply to a number of people in my life. But, if you assume or suspect that this is directed at you – well, here’s some advice:
I’m also typically the first person to give someone another chance (and another, and another), and to forgive people for making genuine mistakes. But, there are ugly people in this world, aren’t there? Sometimes I forget that because I almost always work very hard to see the good in everyone, in anyone – I am a “glass is half full” kind of person. That’s. How. I. Survive. Eh, until you intentionally hurt my children. I’m much less patient, or tolerant at that point.
I caught myself questioning, well, myself, today as I have taken a lot of flack from the “real” family members of those that I love simply for loving and including their biological family member in my broader, more accepting definition of the word “family” – whether as a step parent, or as an “in law” or just someone who loves another like family even if, apparently, they aren’t family.
I’ve been personally attacked specifically for calling a member of my family just that – family! Because, I’m not supposed to do that, I guess. I’m not supposed to love, be proud of, or celebrate someone I didn’t personally give birth to – or, so I’m told. Because of my audacity, perhaps insanity? in loving another as my own, I’ve become a target recently and am seeing and hearing very cruel words thrown at myself, and even one of my children, both verbally and all over Facebook where grown adults are making fun of and insulting someone simply for having a large enough heart to let anyone in.
Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt scorn over my love for someone who isn’t my own. As a stepparent I’ve spent years being hated, insulted and worse simply for caring for someone else’s child. Unfortunately, I just haven’t learned to brush that sh#$ off yet – You can read more about my bleeding heart if you’d like to see an example of the last time I took to the blog to deal with some of my “feels..”
My family may not be perfect, in fact we are perfectly imperfect, but we love with all we have, we are giving, forgiving, accepting, caring and kind. I will never apologize for that. Now, to just train myself to stop letting the sting get to me … words to remember…