Family: (n) a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group (according to Dictionary.com)
Well, in today’s day and age the dictionary definition of family has changed in so many ways and what we define our family to be is different for every single person.
After 4 months of traveling, I’ve identified one major theme across the board, no matter what country we are in, or what culture we get exposure to, the importance of family reigns number #1. The definition may vary but your family will always be a unit.
That unit sticks together, through good times & bad, because that’s just what family does.
Andy and I have such a unique life right now with very little consistency. I’m not complaining, seriously, I love going on safaris one day, getting lost in city streets another day and sitting doing absolutely nothing but people watching the next day. But no matter what your day to day lives may be, we all need a support system to lean on. The support we have from our families to live out our dreams of exploring the world has been exactly what we needed. They answer our texts at weird hours in the day, look through all the pictures we send them and are genuinely interested in what adventures we are having. They hear about the annoying days we have, the not so great food in some countries, the complaints about mosquito bites & not having enough clothes (from me not Andy). Even though they’re thousands of miles away, it’s like they’re right around the corner.
That being said, the 4 month mark was the absolute perfect time in our trip to have the opportunity to see my side of the family, my unit, for a few days on the beautiful island of Aruba. For a very special occasion, might I add. My dad married my sister’s best friend’s mom, Mary. How cool is that?!
Quick background info for you in case you don’t know our story: Tess (my sis) and Keri (my new sis) met when they were 5 years old and have been best friends since. Keri’s 3 older brothers, Sean, Ryan & Kyle and I all went to high school together and we all grew up one neighborhood over from one another. Queue Mary.
There’s just something about Mary. Bonus points for whoever knows what I did there. Mary is the modern day Wonder Woman. She protects kids in her day job and raised some pretty great kids in her everyday life-job. About 4 years after my mom died, my dad gradually got the courage to make Mary more than just a friend. And thank God he did!
So finally, after 6 years together, my dad & Mary tied the knot in front of all their kids, their significant others & 2 grandchildren. It was both intimate & incredibly moving to be a part of such a special ceremony for two people that deserve the best “Plan B” that life is offering them. We’ve all been calling one another brothers & sisters for years but to officially now have 4 more siblings that I get to annoy for the rest of my life is SO exciting!!! Kidding, guys!!
Aruba, ‘One Happy Island’ they call it. With sparkling blue ocean water, dazzling sunsets & 80 degree weather, what’s there to be sad about?! I did get a little sad though when my 4 year old niece took me aside in the pool and said “okay let me tell you all the things you’ve missed out on”…I mean…come on….heart melted. After hours of catching up with everyone, rounds of a new drinking game we invented called, Patrumble (don’t ask) and a few of us dancing on stools at the bar, our first official family vacation came to an end.
My family dynamic has changed drastically in the last 10 years. One constant that has remained throughout has been the support they’ve always provided. Our “unit” is far from ordinary, extraordinary to be exact. In the best way possible. My family went from 2 parents & 1 sister to 1 parent and 1 sister, to now, 2 parents, 2 sisters, 3 brothers, plus 1 sister in-law and 2 brother in-laws. Sounds like a weird math problem right? We’re basically the modern day Brady Bunch. In all seriousness, with all of the subtractions & additions to my family unit, the final outcome, in my eyes, has always, and forever will be, positive.
Family: (n) a support system that you know will always have your back, no matter what. (according to me)