First thing’s, first. The word family – what does it mean?

definition of family

Origin of the Word FAMILY

Middle English familie, from Latin familia household (including servants as well as kin of the householder), from famulus servant

First Known Use: 15th century.
Well, I can’t get a lot of chores completed by most members of my family (that’s a whole other blog post) but even in a 15th century home family consisted of much more than blood relation. Gasp!~ Family even included the servants. Just saying.
family is not genetic
Defining family? All the people I love. All the people that love me. Related, unrelated, adopted, relatives by marriage, stepkids, stepparents, even very close friends.
If I had to narrow down the word “family” to my immediate family I’d have to say my parents, my spouse, our children, our children’s spouses or significant others, grandchildren… eventually I’d have to add in the grandchildren’s significant others, their children, etc. Who am I kidding? I can’t stop – family is so much more to me than what someone else might consider it. I just love everyone! Even those some might say I shouldn’t.
If loving someone for who they are, regardless of the mistakes they make is wrong – then I’m wrong. If accepting someone into your family and treating them as a member of said family is wrong – then I’m wrong.
I personally am grateful every single day to the family that loved (loves) me regardless of my DNA for I wouldn’t be half the woman I am without that love, guidance and more, acceptance! Lovingly, my Dad chose to be my Dad after meeting me and my Mom when I was just two months old!
Source Unknown
Source Unknown

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…


By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

2 thoughts on “Defining Family. PS – I Don’t Hate You, I’m Too Busy Loving Someone I “Shouldn’t.” Sincerely, Acceptance”
  1. This warmed my heart.. Intense hatred and anger is pouring on me from many of my loved ones and I am feeling very lonely… No approval.. But I know we must never give up. This is an amazing read. Thank you for sharing. Sidenote also as kids even as grown ups me and my siblings used to be very terrible with mum and dad too… But I have turned around and I regret those years. Do not take it personally. Hormones, stress…. different pace and priorities.. Must not stop praying… <3

  2. My biological “family” started to deteriorate 10 years ago when my father passed away! I had 1 sister I stayed close to and now that relationship has soured as well! I have met a lit of people in the past 10 year’s that said I was like “famiky”, just to find out that it was all a scam! I do believe, however, that I have learned a GREAT deal about life and people due to these experiences. I now have a few people in my life that are genuine, I consider those people “My Family” now.

    When I discovered this site I was elated!! This is a new and true understanding for me. I am grateful to finally have found a niche where I belong.

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