COLUMN: Sometimes family is all we have

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By Shannon Brock

I’ve learned a lot about family in the past week. It’s probably nothing I haven’t learned before, but some lessons are worth repeating.

Family may very well be the most important thing in this life since it is the first thing God gives us when we are born. But because some original families don’t live up to their potential, we continue to get opportunities to add to the group we call our family.

I consider myself very blessed because I have an amazing original family, but I also have a pretty amazing group that has been put together throughout my (almost) 25 years.

I was born into a small family by some accounts. I have a lot of relatives, but I’m not sure I know them all. Other than a few close cousins, aunts and uncles, it’s pretty much my mom, my dad and me. And, that has its benefits.

I’m really close to my parents — so much so that I call them at least once a day. I remember whenever I would bring a new boyfriend home, my dad would always tell him, “Be good to her. She and her mother are all I have.”

That was kind of our family mantra, I suppose. We had each other — still have each other — and that’s all we really needed.

But as it goes for most young women, I fell in love, got married and extended my family by … an infinite amount, really.

As far as size goes, my husband’s family is just the opposite of mine. His mother is one of five; his father is one of six. Both sides of the family keep growing as most of them have children, and some of their children have children. Josh can’t count all of his first cousins on both hands, and they all barely fit when the toes get involved.

His family was a perfect fit for me — as was he. It’s so nice to have such a large extended group of close relatives. Yet it’s equally as nice to go home to my parents and have our small, yet close-knit group.

It’s the best of both worlds, I think.

But family members don’t always have to be related to you. I have a large family of friends, a work family, a journalism family, etc. Sometimes those family members can be the closest we have.

Families in all shapes and sizes play a larger role in our lives than I can even describe — and what matters most is that they are there for us and we are there for them when it counts.

Whether it’s sticking together when one of us moves on from this life, enjoying our “status quo” and just being together, or seeing the addition of a brand new family member, sometimes family is all we have.

Follow Shannon Mason Brock at Twitter.com/ANewsSBrock.