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What makes a family? I ponder the question often, but not because I don’t know the answer. On the contrary, the answer was embedded in my mind by my parents long ago, and that’s why I try very hard to pass this knowledge on to my children so that they not only know the meaning of the word family, but will also recognize its significance.

Family is the most vital aspect of our childhood; every experience that we share with each family member plays a role that will forever be implanted in our subconscious and somehow manifest in our lives for years to come.

Since we don’t get to choose our family, they come in all different shapes and sizes.  Most can attest to a crazy aunt, a loud uncle, a cousin that is hard to bear, or a grandma that lost a screw or two.  But all in all, even under the worst circumstance, family unites us and makes us whole.

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On our last family reunion, I was watching my niece and nephew mingling with my children. The four-year-old precautious child ran around hugging and kissing her ‘cousins’ (a new word that she recently learned and loved). Her cousins, who are much older, took time to play with her and obliged to her every whim while she happily sang and showered them with gratitude kisses. Taking their age difference into consideration, it was obvious that the cousins play time would be kept to a minimum. As our week progressed, it was apparent to everyone that these few hours she spent with them on a daily basis made a world of a diffrence to her as it did to them.  Her brother, who is just short of being ten, had a blast with the ‘big kids,’ regarding himself as their peer because he got to play in a different league. It was amusing to watch how he tried to be more mature and conspicuous in order to blend in among them.

Every night at dinner, it was fun to see everyone gather around and tell stories of the past year. It was a precious thing to watch our kids taking care of their grandparents and taking charge over making dinner plans. Our fifteen-year-old suddenly looked eighteen and my husband and I once again had an eye opener over the realization that our college age kids now had a life of their own; they are all working their way up the ladder, learning and building their lives, and we don’t have many years left to hover over them.

At our last dinner together, a man came to our table and asked if we were Greek. I couldn’t contain my laughter. With everyone at our table hugging each other, cheering, arguing, debating, and yelling all at the same time, we did look like the “The Big Fat Greek Wedding.” As I looked at my kids, I knew by the spark in their eyes and the smiles on their faces that they all understood what makes a family and with that I turned to the man and said:

bq. No, we are not Greek, we are a family.

Wishing you all the very best this Holiday Season



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