I started to think about this last night. I generally formulate a few thoughts in my brain before I spew forth onto the wide web. It got me wondering who it is that I consider to be “my family”. Certainly the first thing that came to mind was my own family – my partner, our five kids and our pets. Then I thought about my family of origin, my parents and my siblings. This morphed easily into the extensions of these families now –my brothers-in- law and sisters –in-law, my nieces and nephews. I have a half sister that I have never met who is technically family, though I know nothing about her at all other than her name and age. Then there are the foster kids who have come to us and left us, but who I will always consider my children.
Which of these are my family? What about the people who I am not related to through blood but who offer me emotional support and “know me” better than some of the people I am related to? What about the cousins and the second-cousins, or the aunts and uncles and grandparents I have an affinity with?
I guess all of them are family, though all different levels of family, and I am grateful for all of them. I can see here though that my “gratitude” has many levels – as many levels as there are different individuals. I suppose I could do 52 weeks of gratitude for family alone. I certainly have that many people that I could classify in this way.
Since I have a lot of weeks left and lots of opportunities to show how I am grateful for many of these people I am going to focus - for the purpose of this post - on my immediate family. I’ll start with my spouse. I posted a bit about her yesterday but I will add here that I am grateful for her because without her there would be no family at all. I would not have ventured into the world of parenting without her by my side. I happen to think we are a pretty cool family, though I know others disagree with me. There are lots of people “out there” who don’t consider us a family at all since we are a same-sex couple, but nothing could be further from the truth.
I am grateful for my oldest boy. My miracle Max. I have blogged about him before, but not so much recently. He is now eight years old and this post is a good reminder to me to show him more gratitude. I am grateful for his persistence and his work ethic. I have not, and doubt I will ever, meet a harder working kid. People have commented that he is likely “going through a phase” but I know better. Last year he helped me volunteer in the community shovelling the driveways for seniors who could not do it themselves. He will work longer and harder than any other kid. I heard last week he was helping the teacher put away the skis and boots from cross country skiing day, and I know from his grade one teacher that he would offer to help when other kids didn’t even think about it. He has a sweetness to him that few people see. He is a great older brother (who often forgets he is just a brother and not a parent). I am grateful for the opportunity I have to parent this amazing guy – he gives me lots of practise!
I am grateful for my baby Ceejer. What a character this kid is. His imagination never ceases to amaze me – he lives in his fantasy world more hours of the day than not, and it is not in any way connected to the “time” in which the rest of us dwell. He is charming and fun – his whole world revolves around fun - which makes him fun to be with. He is our spiritual connector. He has an affinity for the creator and the world around him that he maintains close contact with. Driving home at night he will be the one to point out the beautiful moon and starts, or the sunset we should be grateful for. He reminds us to give prayers of gratitude each day in our home and for this I am truly grateful.
Our third. Mike. Unassuming, quiet, sensitive Mike. He has had a hard journey in his short life and it has touched him deeply. He has great manners and is SO sweet with his little sisters, but he is right in the middle of all the action, don’t think for a minute he isn’t! I have to be careful with this little soul that I am not “too” loud, or “too” boisterous, and that I don’t overwhelm him in all my bluster. He told me the other day he thinks I am the prettiest and also the bossiest, but I had to sit down and listen to get the message. I generally move too fast. I am grateful for this guy who needs me to slow down.
My bird. As a side note to the gratitude idea – all my life I wanted to parent – but I never wanted to parent girls! There was something about parenting girls that intimidated me and I had NO desire whatsoever to have girls of my own. I love my sisters and my nieces, but there was no way I was going to be a mother to a female! So much for that plan. This little girl stole my heart. She is feisty and fierce and I dread her teenage years already and she is only three! I am grateful that she came to my life and taught me that I have more love than I thought I was capable of. I do. I have. I’m grateful.
Our bean. ZED. THE END. Shel always thought there was another soul meant for our family. I moved too fast to get that message from the universe – but I trusted her ( and hoped she was getting some miscommunication!) Zed came to us and truly our family is complete. I cannot imagine our family without her. She is like glue – our little spider web that connects us all. She loves EVERYONE in our not-so-little family and they all love her. I have love for ANOTHER GIRL! I am grateful for the completeness she brings to us.