Thankful for family, however defined.
Among my wife’s charms is the long runway she needs to take off with her stories. “My mom’s, first-husband’s, second-wife’s, daughter in Medford. . . .” At family gatherings, she quips that most of the room is “related by divorce.”
At one of those first holidays, I was surprised when her brother’s, second wife graciously hosted the large group that included his first wife and first mother-in-law. Then, it hit me. Their love of their son / step-son outweighed the normal tendency to exclude the ex’s. The son’s need to be with mom and grandmom reigned supreme, as did the values communicated to all in the room.
My niece now has sorority sisters, which reminds me of the concept of “family” by choice, not just births, marriages, and adoptions. Those best-friends who know they can raid the fridge without asking are just as dear as a second cousin, often more dear.
When I left that first family gathering with the in-laws, I felt very optimistic. What if we began to view the rest of humanity as extended family? For all I know, any person I see in another car or in the mall IS connected, in some way. Would I ever consider flipping off my wife’s, cousin’s, daughter’s best friend?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving with the in-laws, where I will again focus on what unites us: love of family, however defined.