Every month or so, sometimes more often, the doorbell rings and suddenly my house is flooded with life. 15+ people straggle in bearing drinks, snack, and board games. We laugh, we sing epic renditions of various 60s/70s/80s/90s songs (my aunts sing a haunting version of ‘One Tin Soldier’), we eat, occasionally we make it clear through whatever game we set up, and we just enjoy each other’s company. These are some of my very favorite people on Earth and they also just happen to be my family.
Growing up I never realized that having such a close tight knit family was an oddity. It’s just what we did. Holidays, birthdays, or anytime were an excuse to all get together and hang out. It wasn’t until I started dating my now husband that it was brought to my attention. “Um, you guys really spend a LOT of time together.” I thought he was strange for NOT spending a ton of time with his. You mean you guys DON’T get together to watch the Jerry Lewis telethon as a family?
The older I get the more I realize what a true gift my family is to me. I know not everyone is so lucky to have that. They have strained or toxic relationships with the people they call family. Others simply don’t have time or just don’t make the time to spend with their own families. Over the years, various members have moved away. We are in Chicago, Atlanta, and Texas now but when the stars align and we all get together it is just like old times. I pray that we are instilling in the generation coming up behind us this special family bond. I see it already in the way my oldest son enjoys his cousins. I see it when my kids pass up going out with friends to stay in and hang with the fam. Several of the guys in my family got family tattoos. My uncle’s says ‘rodzina’, it means ‘family’ in Polish. I’m so thankful for my rodzina.