The whole concept of “family” has really been on my mind a lot today. Something I’ve been processing both at the forefront and in the back of my mind as I went through my day today. I won’t go into specifics but I’m at a moment now – and I’ve been here before so this isn’t exactly new for me – where more than anything I am appreciating that “family” isn’t defined as the people you’re genetically born to or the family (in whatever variation that came in) that raised you from childhood to adulthood. I realize I’m definitely leaving out a lot of individual experiences that people go through when it comes to their own particular family (thinking of adoption and foster situations where “family” isn’t in the traditional sense of the word so much as “the people who raised you”). More and more I’m feeling thankful for the fact that as we progress through adulthood we are absolutely capable of forming our own families. A group of individuals who are close to us, whom we love, whom we share and confide in and would provide alibis for if needed, the people we marry, the children we create, that mean more than the parents we grow up with.

So much of my childhood I feel like was a product of brainwashing. And then into my adulthood brainwashing turned into gaslighting. And while I’m sure in their minds their intentions were well meaning and in the “right place” – to them at least – they weren’t health or productive for me. How lucky are we instead to be able to define who our family is whether we marry into them, adopt them as our own, or form them out of friendship, necessity, love, camaraderie, etc.

I love my family but I feel so isolated from them. I envy those who grew up in and still maintain close-knit families that laugh and love and talk frequently and share love like a warm blanket on a cold night. I don’t feel that in my own family. There was a moment after my grandfather died when I thought it was possible but in the years since I’ve come to realize it’s not really possible at all, for a variety of reasons.

Instead I define my family as my husband and the baby I’m currently gestating (due in December) and our two dogs and two cats who bring so much unconditional love and joy into our lives. That’s family. The rest is just circumstance and genetics.

Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest.