Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflections on Family

December 29, 2009

This post was originally written last year as a Facebook note, at just about this same time of year, but it bears repeating. I have updated it slightly to reflect the current year, but the basic message remains the same.

Christmas Week 2009

This past week was Christmas, of course, and Christmas always makes me a little nostalgic and reflective. As is always the case, I thought a lot about family--even more than usual. I love sharing every part of the season with Doug, Brianna, Nicholas and Danielle. Lisa and her girls will be joining us in a couple of days and we'll get to see Grandma too, but we'll miss Laura this year. On Christmas night we got to see Doug's sister Lisa and her boyfriend Larry, and Justin, Courtney, and John. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see Scott, Julie, Matthew, Anthony and Micah for Christmas, as they've stayed close to home in Washington this year. This is our third Christmas without Gary, and Sandi, Tiffany, and Brandon and their girls are still far away in Idaho. It's been even longer since Mom, the biggest Mayes elf of them all, made her last Christmas appearance. It would seem that the family is getting smaller and smaller, and those who remain are scattered.

And yet, when I really stop to think about it, our family isn't getting smaller; as a matter of fact, it has continued to grow in ways I never would have imagined. Mom and Gary are never really gone--lots of traditions and memories help keep them alive, most especially during this time of year. And our loved ones who aren't able to travel to be with us? Well, we are blessed to live in an age where being connected is as easy as a phone call--any time, any where--or a text message, or an email, or even a Facebook message.

Even more amazing is the fact that not only are we able to keep the family we've always known, but we can continue to build and add to that family. In marrying Doug, I gained two fathers-in-law, a mother-in-law, a brother, a sister, and two wonderful nephews. Their extended families are all a part of my extended family, too. I will also always consider Bill, my ex-husband, and his wife Laurie to be part of my extended family as well, because we are all working together to raise our three beautiful children to be happy, healthy, and loving people. I feel blessed that we have a partnership that allows us to foster and model positive relationships for our children. Bill's extended family, who was also my family for many years, as well as Laurie's three daughters, whom she has raised to be beautiful, positive human beings, all will continue to touch my children's lives as they grow, and so will always be connected to me as family.

We have, in the past few years, reconnected with some dear old friends, who have become integral parts of our lives, and are, without a doubt, part of our family now. Jim, David, Carrie, Cheryl, Gary, Morgan, Freya, Dennis, Val, Shanda, Mike, Mom and Dad Krepp, Debbie, Laurie, Mitchelle, Gryphon, Kathryn...the list goes on. These, too are family. Not biological, perhaps, but family nonetheless. We've seen each other at our best and at our worst, and we love each other,just the same.

Then I step back and look at an even bigger picture. Really, anyone who has touched my life in a meaningful way, whether they know it or not, has to be counted as part of my 'family.' These are the people who nurtured me, and who I may have nurtured in some way, as we moved along our paths. Some of them may only have been a part of my life for a short time, but the impact remained and helped make me who I am today. Chab, Tracy, Kari, Jay, Bill, Shai, Pat, Michele, Rosa, Lisa, Kevin, Steve, Brian, Holly, Connie, Kerry, Cindi, Mo, Karen, Heidii, , Marcos, Victory, Allison, Jeannie, Diane, Greg, Gene, Cesar...again, the list goes on and could not possibly be comprehensive, but these and many more have been a part of my own personal family, and to all of them I owe gratitude for what they have given me.

Finally, I work in a job where I get to add to my family every year. In addition to my own kids, my students are my kids, too. Some of them are with me for just that finite period of time, but others maintain and develop a friendship with me as they are moving on to college, or work, and as they are beginning new families of their own.

Family has always been one of the most important things to me, and I am realizing what an all-encompassing and varied family I really have. I am truly fortunate and thankful.



  1. Regardless of how much money you have/don't have, I'd say you are rich!! I'm happy for you.

  2. It's touching to see that it is the human connections that are what truly matter the most. I think this speaks for all of us.

    happy new year!