For most people – I do apologise if I’ve badly generalised – that I have met, their family consists of parents (including stepparents), siblings and grandparents with the odd aunt, uncle and cousin thrown in for good measure. Some class them as family out of some misguided sense of obligation or loyalty, some class them as family because they’ve been told that these people are part of their family through relation or marriage. Me? I class family as the people who deserve to be called just that. Sadly, this means I class more of Joe’s family as my own than I do of the people who are meant to be in mine.
Aside from my Mum, siblings and grandparents, I don’t really count much of my “family” as that. They’re relations, but not family. They haven’t been there through the tough times we’ve had – unless they had a way to make themselves look good. Sure, I have an aunt and a couple of cousins who fall into my bracket of “family”, but that’s it.
I grew up without a Dad, but when he came looking for me, something compelled me to give him a chance, even with the 18 year gap and the reasons I knew for that. Curiosity? Reassurance? Closure? Answers? A relationship? In all honesty it was probably all the above. But, what did I get? Nothing. No answers, no relationship, just a bunch of excuses. Sure, he tried to fake interest in my life, what I was doing and what life had been like, but there was no truth in it. He found me to, well, I’m not actually sure.
The only positive thing that has come from actually meeting him was the brother I found out I had – who I am now trying to build a relationship with despite cutting our “dad” from my life. I refuse to have my children growing up with an in-out granddad who doesn’t actually care.
To me, family are the ones who are there for you and actually care. They’re the ones you can rely on. They are not people you are related to – to me, those people are simply relations, not family.
They say you can’t choose your family. I disagree. The people I class as family, I have chosen to class as just that. What’s your definition of family and who do you choose to include?