What is Family?

July 7, 2002

Welcome to Wyndspirit Dreams! What is family? Last weekend our family hosted a family reunion for Momís side of the familyóthirty years after we hosted the very first one. For weeks before the reunion, I was involved in a project that had me immersed in the photos from thirty years ago. This weekend I have been immersed in the photos from this reunion.

As you can imagine, a few things have changed in thirty years. Weíve lost an entire generation, and members from each of the existing generations. But thirty years ago we had three generations, and this time we had four. Some of the gangly teenagers in the photos from the first reunion are now grandparents.

This reunion was extra special because some of us tracked down long-lost shirttail relatives, who were of course promptly invited to the reunion. We had a glorious time getting acquainted. We also had a few new in-laws, who seemed to fit in fine. I like to say that we donít have in-laws in our familyóweíre all just family. Sometimes I actually have to stop and think about which half of a couple is my blood kin.

But back to my question: What is family? I have an adorable picture of my brother-in-law and our mutual niece deep in a discussion about how he is family because he is her cousinsí father. I have another picture of two of our shirttail relatives who were thrilled to discover they were second cousins. Apparently neither one knew he had a second cousin. I donít even try to keep track beyond my aunts and uncles and cousins.

We cover just about every religious, political, social, and economic segment of society, but all differences are put aside when we get together. I visit just as easily with the wealthy business owner as the stay-at-home mom. Most of the time we pursue our very different lives, but every couple years we need to touch base with each other. We come from all over the country to spend a weekend just being together. We donít do it because we happen to be related. We do it because we enjoy each otherís company, because we like each other. And I canít think of a better definition of family than that.

Wyndspirit Dreams