I was contacted by a cousin this week, at 1:00 AM, wondering why I had never sought them out. In particularly nasty language they accused me of not having “loyalty to our blood” and “family”. I was also called slummy. I get the gist of what they called me. I don’t see it and I think they may well have been blindingly drunk when they sent this message.
This cousin wanted me to travel several states over for their childs graduation.
A child’s graduation, whether high school of college, is something to be celebrated. It’s something to be acknowledged. By family.
Here’s the problem.
I’ve never met this child. I haven’t seen or heard from this cousin in over a decade. People grow apart and that’s what I have accepted. I have always known where this cousin is. I know where most all of my extended family lives, works, etc.
It may seem cold but I have a life to live with the people around me that affect my everyday life.
Family is great when you realize what it is and don’t stick to definition.
Me? I got family that ain’t blood and blood that ain’t family.
I have family all over the world.
There are doors I can knock on in every state. They don’t have to let me in, they’ll invite me in with open arms.
These are people I’ve served with, lived with, suffered with.
In the UK, Europe, and yes even the Middle East I have a bed and a meal waiting for me. If I ever needed it. None of these people are my blood, they’re family.
All that said, I’m extremely loyal to my family. My wife and kids, my father and mother. My older aunts and uncles that are still here.
I’ve been here this whole time.
While my mother and father tended to our grandmother until she passed away. They mad a place in their home for her and she lived out the rest of her days comfortably making my dad lunch every day. I got to see her most every day and enjoy her last years with her. She got to meet my wife. Those are memories I’ll always have.
Where were you, cousin, when my son (do you know his name?) lay in PICU for nine weeks after he was born? Where were you when my daughter was born?
Don’t talk to me about family. My family knows who they are.
I’ve been wanting to write this down and get it out of my head for the last week. And as I feared, my blood is hot right now.
I know what family is. I’ve lived and breathed family for fifty two years.
That’s it. That’s the post.