Family

What constitutes a family?

Family: any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Family: a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for.

Today was a beautiful day. Sunny, 70 and full of vitamin D.  It was Homerun Derby Day aka the first day of rec league baseball.  We, the Nulls, all 6 of us, went to the ball park to watch Dean and his buddies hit it over the fence.  This is a rare occasion these days.  We go in a hundred different directions.  It was a bonding experience for our nuclear family unit.  That is one family of which we are a part.

In the past week since I started this endeavor, I have reconnected with my extended blood relatives I haven’t seen in years and even those I see often but only in passing. Believe me when I say it is a large brood.  If you are from Birmingham, you know the Wilsons are a large brood.  It is a six degrees of separation kind of thing.  My brother John  and his wife Brantley are actually distant cousins:).  Then on my mother’s side are the Durkees and the Agees.  We are all over the place.

I am one of five kids.  We live all over the Southeast which makes it fun to visit.  I can go to the beaches near Charleston, SC or hike Grandfather in the same summer and bond with my siblings at the same time.  We really only get together one time of year and that is Thanksgiving.  That was the holiday which Mama insisted we get together.  We have honored her wish since.

Those are my blood families.  Now onto my other families.  When your kids are involved in organized sports, etc, you belong to a different kind of family.  You end up spending time with these parents and kids many times a week between games and practices.  You bond as you celebrate wins and nurse each other’s wounds when you lose.  You cheer collectively for a home run and you want to reach out and hug your child’s teammate when they fumble.  My girls are dancers and they have danced competitively and are now beginning to join school dance teams.  As the mother of a dance team daughter, you spend two to three hours at a football game to watch your daughter dance for five minutes.  But you cheer those boys on during the game as if they were your own.  These are strong bonds we form together.

Families, whether blood related or school related, go through trials and tribulations.  They hurt when you hurt, they celebrate when you share good news.  Just like blood relatives, you don’t always get along with everyone.  But, you grin and bear it and share a secret smile with those family members you seem to relate to better.

Since moving back to Birmingham, I get to spend time with my blood relatives.  We have also been blessed to become a part with several child related families.  They have all welcomed us with open arms.  I have been surprisingly blessed with a family of parents on my son’s Metro baseball team.  They asked Dean to fill in for a missing teammate in the middle of last summer and we never left.  These are solid, grounded people.  I could turn to almost all of them in a time of need.  Actually, I already have.  I say almost all, because I don’t know all of them that well.  That is how it is with families.

Now all of you readers are my newest family.  Your words of encouragement are very dear to me.  When I see you in person, you hug me.  I have shared my pain and sorrow with you and you have opened your arms to me and shared your own stories with me.  It is an incredible connection I can barely justify with words.  I know you have my back and I have yours.

It is a beautiful weekend.  Take a couple of hours and spend some time with some family members, preferably outside:).  Share a story a hug or just a smile.  Make a memory this weekend.  I sure did.  I was sitting in the stands with my 17 yr old son leaning back against my knees making jokes and cheering on the boys hitting it over the fence, with one of my new Metro family members sitting next to me.  It was a priceless moment.Image