My family is a lot of whom I am. Before my current family (hubby and kids) I came from a family of 4. My mom, dad, and younger sister. I grew up in a great home. My mom was a great mom who I think sacrificed a lot of herself for the well being of our family. She is an amazing person and like me, sometimes doesn't realize all she has accomplished. My dad instilled a lot about what it means to be "family" in both my sister and I at a very young age. See despite living 13 hours from my father's parents and all of his siblings and extended family some of those relatives I'm closer with than some of my mom's family who lived only 20-30 minutes from where I grew up. This closeness with the Virginia family cam from visiting three times a year before I started kindergarten and after that two times a year. My dad's family lives in northern Virginia and I have so many fond memories of my time growing up there. I was at the time very close to my cousins and really had a great "family" experience despite living so far away from these folks and only seeing them twice a year.
I'm the cute one in the middle. Mom is holding me and to the right is my grandma and to the left is my great grandma.
The "favorite four". That is what we called ourselves. We loved putting on productions and this was one of our Christmas Carol Specials. I'm on the far right.
One comment after I put in all the above pictures- can you believe all the intricate wallpaper. Maybe it will make a comeback someday.
My sister is not only my sister but best friend. Despite living 5 hours apart we are very close and see each other almost monthly. We talk at least three times weekly and love to spend time planning our next trip with or without kids. In May my sister, mom and I are traveling to Hawaii to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday. We have always been very close and I think some of my issues with girlfriends over the years stem from how high my expectations our about what friendship is because I compare it to what my relationship with my sister is and has been. At her wedding I gave a maid of honor toast and afterwards was tidying up in the bathroom and this lady- total stranger- approached me and said she wished she felt the same way about her sister as I do about mine (that after hearing me recite my toast). My mom has also commented that she has to be careful what she says about us- meaning our family of four -at work, due to some of her coworkers commenting about how they wished they were as close and saw their own children and grandkids as often as my mom does.
Totally late 1970's early 80's motif going on. This is me and my younger sister. Yep she looked a little like cousin Fester as a babe- Oh how I love this picture though. It reminds me of reading before bedtime. The book I'm reading in the picture is one of the "Little Bear" books by Elsa Homelund Minarik. Great book series! Again can you believe the green jungle wallpaper in the background.
My mother's parents lived only 15 minutes away from us and we saw them quite often growing up. We got together with my mother's other four sisters and their children mainly around holidays. My mother was a big reason why we stayed connected with her sisters, because she was many times the planner (again another trait I picked up from her). It saddens me a little because I really don't feel as connected to my mom's sisters or their families- not like I still do with my Virginia relatives. Sometimes distance doesn't make a difference.
Oh how time changes and yet it doesn't. I now have my own family of four. Hubby and I followed our "five year plan" and didn't have our first child until we had been married five years. These five years were important for us in our establishing our family, but looking back we sometimes laugh at how much more we now cram into our lives "post kids". My daughter was born three years after my son and to date I think they are pretty good friends. It will be fun to see them grow and hopefully I can instill some of those "family values" my dad and mom instilled in me and my sister. I hope they stay close and also hope they stay close to me as I have with my parents.
I inherited another family when I married and I feel so blessed to have the in-laws I do. They are like second parents to me. I really couldn't be luckier. They too realize the importance of family and are there for us whenever we need them. I love going home to stay with both my parents and my in-laws even if hubby isn't with me. One of my favorite trips-ever- with the kids occurred with their help. Hubby wasn't able to go on spring break and so me, kids and in-laws traveled to Sanibel Island Florida and truly it was one of those magical trips that I will never never forget. I am so thankful we were all together for it.
Inherited family- in-laws which aren't like in-laws to me, but second parents.
Me and the hubby have only had one x-mas alone, since married,while I was still working 12 hour shifts in the PICU. Since then we haven't missed a holiday with our family. I feel like I'm raising my kids the way in which my parents raised me. They see me staying connected with my "family" via phone, letter, e-mail and visits. They start to have grandparent withdrawal if it has been longer than a few weeks since last seeing one of the two sets.
I have lived much of my life not near my "family" and yet I am very close to many members of my "family". Family is what you make it and no excuse like distance, time or money can be used when talking about continuing family relationships. This post doesn't do my thoughts of my family justice. Again thanks mom and dad for starting me out so strong with what "family" means.
My graduation with MSN. My parents and sister haven't missed any of these big "life" moments yet.
Gosh I hope they love me and what to stay connected with me as much as I do with my parents.
Almost more importantly I hope they want to stay connected to each other and end up being best friends like my sister and I are.
Family of Four!