The Definition of Family
January 10, 2011 in Hearth Witchery
The definitions of family in our society are changing rapidly. In a world where there is such disconnect, people are choosing their family differently. Sometimes there are people who aren’t as close to their blood relatives, and so chose to make a family out of their friends. Other times, people feel the world gets them down and sticks very close to their hereditary family. Sometimes it’s a mixture of both.
The point of the matter is, it’s difficult to define family. What is family? Who do you consider to be part of your family? Is your family your immediate blood relatives? Your biological mother, father, and siblings? It can be. What about people who are adopted? Do they feel the same way about their adoptive father and mother? I bet they do. Do you count extended relatives as family? Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and the like? I used to. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve changed my definition of family. At first, family was the definition I gave to someone to whom I was related in some manner, through my mother or father, in order to establish some sort of connection with them. At the time I believed you could only have one family. Later, I cut that list down to size, only including relatives who we saw on a more regular basis than the once a year reunion. Later still, I changed that list completely.
From here on, we are going to discuss two types of family. Capital F Family, and lower case f family.
The lower case f family. This is comprised of all of those Aunts, Uncles and Cousins from the very first definition. You know, when someone says, “I have to move to a new house next weekend, everyone want to come help?”. “Of Course,” you reply. “You’re family.” This kind of family, however nice, however much you like them, is distant. Sure you’ll go help them move once every couple of years. Do you remember their birthday? Probably not. Do you even know their phone number or address? Not likely. Is it nice to see them? Sure it is. Do you want to see them every day? Some of them, sure. Definitely not all of them. Keep in mind that some of the people from this family group will also be in the capital F group.
Alright. Capital F. Family. Family in this type is comprised of those people who have made an impact on your life in such a way that you will never lose feeling for them. Usually the basics of this group are your mother, father and siblings. Who else? Maybe there is a special Aunt or Uncle that you feel particularly close to, even if you don’t talk as much as you want. Maybe it’s that friend you’ve had since school, who has been with you through more things than you can count. Hopefully those of us with spouses feel close enough to them to include them in the capital F group! Who else can be included in the coveted capital F group? Friends that we’ve met online, whether we’ve met them in person yet or not. I have a few friends I’ve made online that I would love to meet, and that I already include in my capital F group. Not to mention the fact that I met Sean online, as well.
That said, the official dictionary definition of family is this: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. I disagree. Yes, Sean and Brianna are my Family. We live under the same roof. Yet, I also count as my Family relatives in another house, school friends in another province, an e-friend in Australia. There is no all encompassing roof that will cover all of us, some of different faiths and races. Yet we are all the same Family, because we chose to be. As a Family, we need to take care of each other. We all do this in different ways. As a mother who is a hearth witch, a lot of my job is about creating harmony in the home. And remember, that home is widespread. My “home” encompasses all of my Capital F family, no matter how far away they may be.
That means playing therapist, healer, chef, and priestess. I minister to the needs of my Family, and they minister to mine, because that is what Family does to each other. As I write this, Sean has come over to the computer to rub my back. Brianna comes and gives me kisses. They are satisfying my need to know that I’m needed. However, the most important thing about being a Family, and in my case a hearth witch, is to create a Sanctuary. A place of refuge, where my Family can come and be safe. They are not judged, nor criticized, nor picked on. They are treasured for who they are, and what they bring to our Family dynamic. They are welcomed and accepted, without reservation. Because without sanctuary, it’s neither a Family nor a household.