Growing up all my friends had two parents, a Mum and a Dad. I actually knew of no other type of family until the end of my secondary school years when a friends parents divorced and she lived with her Mum.
To me this was a normal family – Two parents and one or two children.
Most of my friends had either a brother or a sister, with the exception of two of my best friends who were the only child. No one I was friends with during my school years had more than two siblings in the family.
Of course, it was most likely the area in which I lived and the friend circles of my parents – they had joint friends, met through work or parents of my friends and would mingle together as couples.
It was only really when I went off to collage that I got to an age where I noticed the different family make ups, obviously they were there before but not on my radar at all.
A few of my new friends came from large families of up to 7 children, some had step-brothers and step-sisters and half-brothers/sisters. To them this was the norm.
I was good friends with two sisters at that time who lived with their Nan and didn’t see their Mother.
Looking around Emmy’s school playground, I am very glad she gets to see a huge mix of family make-ups. Learning that families can all be different from an early age helps to inform our children and stops them from the awkward questions they seem to ask in a loud voice right in front of those you don’t want to hear that question.
I have had this before, and it’s those moments you want the ground to open up and swallow you whole “Mummy, Why does xyz not call that man Daddy?” and “Why does xyz not have their Daddy living at home” – these were said at the school door after a friends parents split up and the Mum later moved in with her boyfriend.
Of course, family isn’t always about blood relatives. 27% of those surveyed by Slater Gordon said that family is defined by who you choose it to be.
This is 100% true in my opinion – they say you can choose your friends but not your family. I am lucky in that I do get on with all my family members, although I may not see them as much. People grow apart and that is OK – I was very close with my brother as a child, we would go out with friends together and had similar circles of friends. Yes he did bug the hell out of me at times but that’s what brothers do. Now we are both older, are both married and both have our own children we barely see each other or talk – we’ve grown apart even though we live locally – but it is OK, he knows should he need me that I am there for him and vice versa (he won’t admit that aloud though).
I do miss him, but meet up on birthdays and at Christmas.
I also have a ‘Sister’ – she is my ‘chosen’ sister. Actually my best friend however we always refer to each other as sisters. We’ve been best friends for so long that I can remember he not being in my life. We met through her brother who was best friends with Paul, he was actually Emmy’s Godfather but after a HUGE falling out we no longer see him, nor do we want him in our lives.
His sister, Ruth (my best friend) has taken over the godparent roll for Emmy and is also Harry’s godmother – a what a wonderful fairy godmother she is too.
Although not my blood sister, everyone else always refers to us as sisters too – he husband, my husband and even my Dad. Everyone know that we are two peas in a pod – where you find one you will always find the other.
An unbreakable bond joining us in our ‘chosen family’. We are grateful to have each other too as she has a hate/hate with most of her family – they come to her when they want something only.
Another family saying is ‘blood is thicker than water’ well that’s not always true – some families are better apart than together and that is OK.
Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all alike?
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