I often ask people who have been married if they still keep in touch with their bridal party, to which most answers are "no". This was specifically the reason why Michael and I asked our parents to stand up with us on our wedding day. Friends come and go but parents are forever.
Circumstances and life events change and therefore so does your social network and perspective. As you have children, your focus shifts towards your own immediate family and your social network is that of likeminded commonality.
I can say with all certainty that if we had waited and got married this year, there would definitely be different people included in our day as we've met so many fantastic colleagues, neighbours, and acquaintances who have eventually become our friends.
The definition of family for me has certainly changed. Family of course encompasses blood relation but not always do you have things in common simply because you're from the same family tree. Family to me is whomever you want it to be.
For us, it's parents, each other, pets, in-laws, friends, step-siblings, half-siblings, neighbours, and of course extended blood lines. There are people who don't know their parents or have never met their sibling and who are forced to create their own family ties for comfort, security and survival.
This year, I have faced some personal challenges to say the very least regarding forgiveness. I was told by a highly educated professional that family is the most complex and complicated unit there is, and with large families comes more problems. She said you can move halfway around the world and run from these problems, but when you least expect it, those feelings will re-surface and creep in. I myself have chosen to face these problems head on, forgive and also forget. There is no possible way in life that you can move forward if you harbour ill-feelings of contempt. With that being said, in life comes reason and choice.
Family is forever and no matter who you choose to define and surround yourself with, make sure you let them know how much you love them. You know the expression that you can pick your friends but not your family. To this statement I disagree and Michael and I will both attest that our "family" may be far from the typical nuclear one, but it's still in fact authentically ours and we choose to surround ourself with love, and divorce or remove ourselves from anything but.
As we embark upon this Christmas season, there is always something about this time that makes me quite emotional. When I was single, I was panging for the love that I so badly wanted and the holidays were always a reminder of how alone I really was. Now, I'm filled with emotion as I'm thankful for so much, for such a wonderful family and the memories we've started to create. It's so important to keep family traditions alive but also wonderful to start new ones.
With that being said, it's time to go listen to Elvis' Christmas album. Some traditions will never be broken.
I'm loving this all star cast version of "We are Family."