Family is number one. It takes priority over most anything for anyone. We work for our families, strive to give them anything they need to ensue their happiness. Happiness IS family.
While I grew up very much involved with my family, by far some of my best memories are with my grandparents. My grandparents were everything. I grew up with both sets of grandparents of each side of my family. Both sets of grandparents were married for over 50 years, and very much happily so. Holidays were always spent at their homes and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Aunts, uncles, and cousins all in tow. As my grandparents all passed away (from old age, thankfully), we abruptly stopped the holiday meetings. As I got older I found that the obligation my extended family felt, along with my own, disappeared when we reached a mature age.
Why do we feel like family is an obligation?
Now that I have a family of my own, I cannot help but already see that some family feels this exact way. While I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to visit with my family, I just feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. I grew up having the best times with my family, and now I only see most of them at Christmas and Thanksgiving. When did everyone get so busy, and less excited about spending time with each other? I understand the hustle that comes with work and everyday life. I know that I have forgotten to check up on people in a while and maybe they take that to heart.
I’m done making excuses to my 3-year-old.
By now he knows who his family is. I’m not going to apologize to anyone if he acts like you are a stranger to him. I’m not going to tell him to ‘give you a hug, goodbye’. And soon enough we won’t bother to send the invites to special occasions (just kidding, I will always invite 30 more people than I should to his birthday party). But I’m a push over when it comes to this. I never want anyone to feel left out. But I also will not cater to anyone’s feelings but my own and my families.
Family isn’t always blood.
Some of the most important people in my life, as well as my families, are all extended family friends. They say blood is thicker than water, but water runs deep. I know who I can call when I’m in trouble (my mom). And I also know who to call when I need some realistic life advice (my mom, again). But my mom, and mother-in-law are two extremely hard working people who aren’t always readily available to me. I must depend on these other non-blood family members for a lot, such as watching my son 4/7 days of the week, sometimes as early as 5am! But the most important, is I know who my son is most excited to invite to his birthday party.
So if your little ones have a grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle who aren’t blood, I think that’s FANTASTIC. Don’t let them know that they have family that aren’t around much. I don’t want my son to think he’s any less important whenever he’s surrounded by people who love him. A diverse, extended family full of supportive happy people who make you feel important is the only family I want to have.
I know who makes me and my family a priority. He has his certain grandma’s and grandpa’s so high up on a pedestal and that’s exactly where they should be!