International day of families – 15 May 2019
A little over a year ago, my second book ‘Family’ was released into the world. It felt, what I imagine it might feel a little like if one of my girls was going off travelling for the first time. Setting off into the big wide world – I am aware this is only a breath away and the thoughts and feelings that are stirred up are very real. Will they be safe? Will people be kind? How do their roots aid them? How deep is the faith / my trust? Have I done all I possibly can to prepare them for this?
The title Family has been confusing for some (as in the title of my cookbook but also for the word itself). If you open the pages or read the introduction, you will soon learn that there is so much more to a title. In many cases, there is the assumption that this book’s focus is for a busy family with children still at home. This is true in many aspects but not at all exclusively. There is so much more on offer. This second book is filled with versatile and time-saving recipes for all people at all ages and stages that can be shared with who they personally think of as ‘family.’
There has been such kind and generous feedback of this book since its release. Feedback and stories that honestly, make me get a little teary…in a ‘high-fiving-of-my-tribe-kind-of-way.’
One of the most unexpected blessings since its release has been the conversations shared with me about family: Who do people see as their family? What does family mean to each of them?
As I write in the book, I’ve learnt that the word ‘Family’ means something different to everyone.
In celebration of International Day of the family (today), I opened the branches to a handful of the people around me and asked them what family means to them. Many of these people are family to me – blood or otherwise – and I thank them so much for sharing their thoughts and feelings. Many of these bought me to tears. Upon reading these, I love the fact that family can also mean ‘raw.’
Enjoy the read.
What does Family mean to you?
Family is where I feel a solid sense of belonging. Where I feel such powerful and unconditional love despite my shortcomings (and sometimes because of them). My family are my force field.
They are the people that love and support me. They are my tribe and my network. Family can extend beyond bloodlines and last names. They are the people who join us on this wonderful journey of life.
“That’s simple – everything!”
“My family reaches far and wide.
They are related by birth, they are close friends, they are young people who may need a little mentoring, they are the inspiring women I work alongside daily who keep me on track, they are the incredible women I have the privilege of working with at Relish Mama, Four Pillars and SisterWorks. I am also lucky enough to have a beautiful husband and son who are my world.
Family is what holds me together and keeps me going.”
“An unspoken and unconditional commitment to love, support and nurture another.”
“I think of my family as my tree of life. They are what keeps me alive. A family tree is more than the ancestors written on a piece of paper, marking the history of my family. They are like a living & breathing oak tree. They are all the branches spread wide, signifying that we are spread across suburbs, towns, countries but the roots deep down in the earth. My Mum & Dad are the roots. All of the different colours in the leaves; every one a little different from the other. We are part of the same living organism, but we are all individuals. Then there are the nobbly bits on the trunk; a bit ugly sometimes but still a part of the whole tree. As a whole, living thing, it is beautiful to look at, it provides shade (protection) from things that sometimes aren’t so great, and yet it is always connected to the earth.”
I’ve experienced family in different forms. I have a biological family full of love & support. Since emigrating ‘my own’ family far from ‘home’ we have created another family where ex pats have bonded together & become each other’s surrogate family. Looking out for each other, giving, caring.
I have a close church family where values are shared.
In essence, to me family whether related or not is being a part of something. It’s belonging.
Family is our centrality of being. It’s where it all begins. We ride the highs and lows together, good times and bad. We celebrate and grieve and grow together. Family is our core.
My idea of family has changed a little over the last 5 years. Of course, my core family are the kids, myself, my parents and my brothers and their beautiful families. What has become very evident to me, is that my family is far more wide-reaching than just this core group. I have found over the years that my closest friends are also very much a part of my family and without them, I would be lost and lonely. My “family” are unwavering in their support of the children and me, they are non-judgemental, they are invested and interested in our lives, they love us unconditionally, they are steadfast in good and bad times, they are forgiving, patient and their love is never-ending. We make each other laugh and cry, we drive each other crazy and help each other calm down, we challenge each other to be the best family we can be. My family is big and much appreciated, as I wouldn’t be where I am without them.
It means to back up the ones you love. ALWAYS be there for them. ALWAYS have their backs. put them before everything xxxxxxxxx
“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
Oscar Wilde as put forward by Marta Skrabacz
“Love and Family are patient, they are kind. Love and Family do not envy, they do not boast, they are not proud. Love and Family does not dishonour others, they are not self-seeking, they are not easily angered, they keep no record of wrongs. Love and Family does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
An adaptation of the Corinthians – contributed by Alida Mercuri who says she adores the passage and has added the word family beside the word love.
“Family is anyone with who you share blood… or wine!”
“Family are the people you can trust with anything. They are your support system, and they take care of you. They will tell you the truth even if it hurts. “
Family means: just being together in a safe, warm, and unconditional way.
“Family means everything to me. No matter whether the family members live under one roof or not, it’s that special connection that keeps family together always, family is not always blood relationship.
“It means to back up the ones you love. ALWAYS be there for them. ALWAYS have their backs. Put them before anything and everything. “