As I see it, there are two basic types of “family”- the kind that you are born into and the kind that is formed by choice.  Some people are incredibly lucky and were born into wonderful families.  However, there are a lot of people who, unfortunately, were born into families that are wrought with dysfunction.  These people can either learn what they live and continue the life of dysfunction, passing it down to their future generations, or they can recognize the dysfunction (either through therapy, a helpful outsider, or through self-realization) and, to the extent possible, leave it behind and form a more positive “family” with other people outside of their biological family.

I am incredibly lucky to have both a wonderful biological family and a wonderful family of friends!  As anyone would expect who knows my biological family, they have been nothing but supportive of everything that I have been through over the years.  The same thing can be said of my other family, as well.  I have found so much support, love, and generosity from my family of friends.  I have discovered that if there is anything that I need, I just ask, and someone steps up to help out.  This has also become very important for my son.  Since he will be an only child, due to the complications that I went through at his birth, his “family” will consist of his biological extended family and a very important group of “brothers and sisters” from our family of friends. 

We were able to spend a wonderful day Sunday with Evan and his parents and friends.  Depending on what day it is, Drew refers to Evan as his brother or his “Buddy.”  He even broke down one night last week and cried for about 10 minutes about how much he missed Evan.  I was so excited to see how much he enjoyed playing with him on Sunday.  Since they are both 3, they would play together for a few minutes and then go play on their own for a while and then come back together and play more- the normal play cycle of a 3 year old.  It wasn’t until the end of the 5 hour visit, that my child, exhausted from getting up early and not having a nap, snatched a lawn mower from Evan causing some tears and a defiant attitude from Drew.  My heart was so full of joy listening to the boys playing together and “roaring” and laughing together while chasing each other.  Overall, though, it was a wonderful day! 

As someone who witnesses the effects of family dysfunction every day in Juvenile Court, I have come to the conclusion that it is very important to foster those positive relationships with family and friends as frequently as possible.  Spend time with those you love and enjoy.  Especially for children, the more positive and supportive connections they have, the better off they will be in life.  As for me, I am so very blessed to have such wonderful family, both biological and friend-based, who have provided awesome support through my life journey.  I want to say THANK YOU to you all!!  I will live the rest of my life trying to give-back all of the love and support that you have given me.


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One Response to What is your definition of family?

  1. Kristen says:

    We are so blessed to have you in our lives as well. Over the years whenever Patrick is asked about the influential people in his life, he always mentions your dad. You and your brother have been such great friends (and family) to him over the years. I am so grateful that Evan will be able to grow up along side Drew and have a “brother” he can lean on whenever he needs to as well. I am also proud to call you and Richard my friends!

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