"You can't choose your family"
That concept is ridiculous. I love my family- my huge family with aunts and uncles and cousins, second and third cousins, relatives through blood or marital ties. Hey, I even like most of them. I am constantly surprised (and facebook has been a helpful tool) at how many people in the City of
are related to me in some way or another. Scranton
I hate "The Office"- can't any of these actors come up with a
accent? Sheesh. If you said, "Nice day tga upt' Scranton , ainiha?" they would be totally blank. If you too are totally blank, I'll translate: "It would be a nice day to go up to Providence , wouldn't it?" , or more literally, "Nice day to go up to Providence , ain't it, huh?" But as usual, I digress. Providence
I love my family. Down to the bone. But there are people in my life who are so important, so necessary to me that I consider them family.
I was given a great gift as a child: an extra set of grandparents. They lived next door. Because of their love, I have 9 "courtesy" cousins, who, in turn, have given me 8 (and counting!) little cousins, including some who call me "Aunt Sally".
My two best friends from middle school and I were very close. "Jo" had a baby two days before our Senior Year. The baby is grown, but she calls me "Auntie". I get a kick out of this. She is a joy, and a riot. I'm proud of the woman she has become.
Then, while I was in Community College, the guy I dated for a couple of years brought me home to his family. He is my best friend. And his family adopted me! So I have another set of parents, 2 sisters-by-love & brothers out-law, and four nephews and a niece. For any of whom I would commit a crime, if necessary. This part is still only theoretical of course (Legal Disclaimer. Ahem).
Another dear friend, who recently passed away, gave me a nephew. He is 15 and a really cool person to talk to. He got me into texting.
When I went to SUNY Fredonia, I met "Michele". After a few shots of...um, pepsi?...I decided that she was my long-lost-sister-from a previous life. It clicked with her, too. When she was going through her divorce, she lived with my (now ex) husband and me. Through most of it, I secretly wanted to boot my then-husband, and just stick with living with "Michele". We are still sisters.
My mom remarried, so I have a stepdad, a stepbrother, a sister out-law and her son, who calls me Aunt Sally. Sometimes. He's 3.
Then my most recent gift: Jen. She and I were friendly at Fredonia, but we both had boyfriends who were really no good for us. I'm not going to bitch about the exes, but now that we have been long-disentangled from them, we re-met, on Facebook. We are so much alike in the coolest ways. She is the sister of my heart, and I'd cut my arm off for her. Her support keeps me from going absolutely screaming bats. And she is such a role-model for me- she's been through some tough stuff, and yet she and her husband are still together, and working at improving their situation with grace.
A Blood relative recently came down on me for referring to a non-blood relative as a cousin. I asked her to consider my views on family. That in-laws and out-laws are as family as blood kin. That even though I can't donate an organ to someone, it doesn't lessen my love for them. I hope she takes this concept into consideration.
Family are the people you can count on to the death. They are the people who know what you are really like, and still love you. Which always surprises me, in the best kind of way- they put up with my eccentricities, my moodiness, and my schemes that would have worked if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
It's my Nana's birthday today. And yes, she was my blood grandmother. I still miss her, especially this time of year, because we used to share birthdays. No one could ever replace her in my heart; but also, my "via-love" family members would also, and have always, been irreplaceable.
I want to just take a moment and thank my whole family, blood, legal, non-legal, renegades-- all of you.
Now, I have a toast to drink to my Nana. Cheers!