My mother was the matriarch of our family. My house was the house everybody gathered, dropped their kids off and crashed on the floor when necessary. Until I became an adult I was surrounded by family constantly. My mother always tried to support everyone in whatever they were doing. If it was helping someone win a queen contest, driving them to an event or speaking on their behalf to make sure they received the necessary support for a good education she was there. Family for my mother was more than those related by blood. It was friends who supported her in everything and she returned the support. This is why I grew up with way more aunts and cousins than we had listed on our family tree. I saw my mother do just as much for those not related by blood as she did for those who were.
We live in a society where the “family” has been spread throughout the world. Until this year when we made a conscious effort to see each other, I had not seen some of my cousins in five years. It seems crazy that the people I spent every day of my childhood with I hardly ever see anymore. Since I do not see my related family on a regular basis my friends have become my family. It then becomes important to support and help each other because sometimes in a crisis situation they may be the only ones who can help you.
It is important to remember that family is dynamic and thus, constantly changing. The make-up of your family will not only change by births, deaths and marriages, but also by, job changes, moves and your kid’s activities. Family is your support system. John Donne’s statement, “No man is an island,” is true. We all need someone and if we support each other it makes it easier.
The other lesson in this is that you must make time for your family. Many of us work very long hours and are constantly on the move sacrificing time with our family. Our careers are important, but our family is more important. You must strive for balance to make sure you are not short changing your children or yourself.
My daughter will be 2 in July and it has gone by so quickly. I can only imagine how the rest of the years will go if I am here to see them all. Please realize that your children will only be this age once. These are years you cannot get back. Make time for your children. Make time for all of your family because no one is promised tomorrow. I constantly say that I cannot let my employer kill me. If I die they will hand my laptop to the next person and my family will suffer. When we reach the end of our life, hopefully we will have a chance to remember our years. I pray that you have many memories of you and your family together because those will be the ones that really matter. If you have a work laptop or not at this point it will be of no importance.