Lately Coco is fascinated with babies.
I think most children in the toddler and preschool years are fascinated with babies, but right now Coco seems fixated on anything and everything baby-related. I’ll go ahead and admit that she calls any child smaller than an average adult a “baby”- so maybe we’re still working on the general concept of a baby in real life. Nonetheless, she loves seeing and kissing babies, and she pretends to take care of her dolls when they are crying or hungry or need a diaper change. All the talk of her new cousin on the way (coming soon!) makes her a little curious and excited about babies. So excited, in fact, that a few weeks ago she walked into the kitchen and pleaded adamantly with me for a baby sister, with a furrowed brow and hands clasped tight for dramatic effect, of course.
Ha! The things this kid comes up with.
While there is no way on earth I will be giving her a baby anytime in the near future (even though she asked me so nicely), I am so excited to be welcoming my brand new niece to join our family. Over the past several years, our family has grown in some unexpected ways. When I say unexpected, I don’t just mean the new babies that have come to us. I also mean the people who are not related to us by blood, but who have become folded into our lives throughout the years. My “family” has become a hodgepodge mix of people with all different origins and stories, and it is something truly beautiful.
My family was not always so big. Before my family started growing into a big, messy, patchwork quilt of people, I had my mom, dad, and two brothers, along with a few aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents who live far away, and are loved dearly. In short, my family had always been on the small side.
One day it suddenly became smaller. My dad died by some stranger’s accident when I was 4, and my mom, the warrior-woman, raised the three of us alone. Because of my mom’s strength and resourcefulness, we thrived as a small, tight-knit family, despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles we faced. In the process, however, my family was able to form strong bonds with other families who stepped up to help, and our family grew larger as we collected more people who would be part of our lives, most likely, forever. The core of our family remained small, but we grew a huge network of extended framily (that’s right, friends + family = framily). If you are a part of our framily, you know who you are- we love you! Thank you for being part of our lives.
After several years, our core family (the Original Four) began to grow new actual members. Katie and her family grew into ours when she married my older brother. Then the babies introduced themselves (together, of course), along with my younger brother’s girlfriend who is a lovely addition, and a long lost uncle.
My family is anything but conventional. You might call it a modern family, but I like the word “patchwork”. We have single parrents, long lost newly discovered relatives, married-in people, unofficially adopted framily, and good ol’ blood relatives. We are a quilt, all the pieces made of different colors (figuratively and literally), all coming from different places. All imperfect, but all fitting together perfectly. Each person brings a new flavor, each a different kind of love. It is beautiful.
It is something to be proud of.
Some call it crazy, some judge, and some flat out don’t understand how it works or why it’s beautiful. This mismatched conglomeration of people is real family, not because it fits into the technical definition of the word, but because what makes a family is the love.
Take the family you have and enjoy it, and grow it! No matter how crazy, strange, or obnoxious, whether they share your genes or not- don’t forget to tell them you love them and don’t be afraid to be proud.
What makes your family normal? Abnormal? Absolutely nuts? Come on, share the crazy with us! I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who have to embrace the crazy. We know you have some too…
That’s all for now!