Friday, October 12, 2012

Can you choose your family?

My Uncle Mike is sick.  He's had a tough week and, hopefully, will leave the hospital today and go home.  How is he related to you De? you might ask.  Well...he is related to me because we choose to be related.  There are no connections through blood or marriage - it is our choice.

I have a great family - people I am bound to by blood and by marriage.  I am also connected to people by blood I hope never to see again in this life.  I choose who gets a space in my circle and who doesn't.  It took me a long time to have the courage to evict some people and to open the space wider to bring others closer but that is part of growing up and it's worked out pretty well.  I share sister-like bonds with some of my cousins - ranging from 1st cousins to a third cousin and I love it.  I am very blessed to have them in my life.

I also have a tremendous circle of "family" with no biological or legal connection - we wish to be family and so we are.  For some, I don't recall a time when I didn't know them.  Sometimes, I share a close relationship with one or two siblings but not so much with others and that is fine. It is a choice - not a requirement.  In other cases, we've reconnected after many years apart.  Say what you will about social media, but it has brought me closer to some people than I might otherwise have been.

Having a circle of people I can love and who love me back is a wonderful thing.  Like all families I sometimes roll my eyes, scold, ignore (shun?) but then it passes and we're all back on track.  Last year I had two terrible losses in my family and was surrounded by so much love and support it didn't matter what roles anyone had - we came together to grieve and heal and they shared my losses with me.  I remember speaking at my aunt's memorial and when I looked around the room all I saw was family.

For anyone who believes the old adage that you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family - I say to you - look again.  Because you absolutely can choose your family.

Hurry home UncleMichaelHatch♥



  1. A tribute to family from a family member I am proud to stand next to and say this is my cousin and my blood and by choice!
    Lots of prayers and good thoughts for Uncle Mike Hatch and all his girls

  2. Thank you 3rd cousin (that was you!). Uncle Mike went home yesterday and from what I understand he's doing great.