My family is fairly small. Yes, I have three sets of grandparents (all living). Yes, I have 16 Aunts and Uncles. And yes, I have a decent amount of cousins. But, in reality, I rarely see these people and I feel more awkward around them then comfortable.
Zach’s family is even more limited. He has no living grandparents, a living aunt and a living uncle and a handful of cousins.
Yes, we both have more immediate family. Zach has a younger brother, Dad, Mom and Step-Dad. I have a sister, Mom and Dad….but even so, our families just seem small. And as such, have been supplemented by chosen extended families.
One of these families used to live up the street from me is Susie’s family. Susie is one of my closest and dearest friends. We met when I was just 3 and she was 4 and remain close to this day. We’ve had our fights and years of not talking to each other, but we are more like sisters than some sisters. Susie has a HUGE family, half of which I’ve never even met, but the side that lived in the house up the street was like my second family. Her mom and dad took care of me, fed me, took me places. I visited all of her grandparents and enjoyed family outings to the mountains. Susie’s younger brothers are just around my sister’s age, one a bit older than Stacy and one a bit younger. They grew up together, as our families were already close before any of them were born, and as such, they are also like siblings.
Susie family has moved around, this last move took them to the mountains two hours away. Last weekend, we were invited over for a Welcome Home BBQ for one of Sus’ younger brothers (He is recently home from being in the Marines). We enjoyed our time socializing and being part of the family, but it really made me wish I had a bigger family. More brothers and sisters to join in the fun around the holidays, but I guess that’s why God gives us these chosen families, sometimes they can become better and stronger than the ones you are born with.
Here’s a photo of the group of us. We are missing Zach, my Sis and her husband, Jim’s wife, my Dad and Michelle’s son, but otherwise, this is one of my extended families…we’ll call them D.
Left to Right: Scott (he is suedo-family too), Isaac, Susie, Charly, Me, Jim, Roger (Susie’s Step-dad), Ted, Brenda, Kai(Isaac’s birthday twin, he was born exactly 1 year before Isaac), Enya, Jeff, Caulder, Tracey, Jamie, Ellie, Randy, Michelle, Cher (Mom) and Kathy (Susie’s mom).