We Are Family

Do you come from a small family or a large one with many siblings? Are you close to them? See them often? Occasionally? Estranged?

I’ve lived thousands of miles from my parents and siblings for the past sixteen years. We keep in touch through phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook.

But, last weekend my husband (Sonny) and I flew from Seattle with my youngest daughter (Ana) and my stepdaughter and husband (Katrina and Jon) to Minneapolis. My oldest daughter and her husband (Brooke and Doug) flew in from New York City a few hours before us, retrieved an eight passenger vehicle from rental, and then picked up the rest of us at baggage claim. From there, we journeyed for two hours, crossed the border into Wisconsin, and converged on my parents’ house in my small home town.

The occasion??? A family wedding.

My younger sister is in her early forties, but this was her first marriage. We were all thrilled for her when she became engaged. I’d only met her then fiancé during a quick visit back two years ago. During the past weekend my family was able to spend more time with him, as well as his teenage daughter and son. He’s a good guy, and the kids are outgoing and bright.

My brother and his wife have three children – all in their twenties. Although they’re separated by cities and states, all the cousins have close relationships. They warmly welcomed their new step cousins into the fold.

The thirteen-year-old new member commented to my husband that he’d been nervous about meeting everyone – not knowing what to expect – but immediately felt comfortable. He realized that he was now a part of our family and that we cared about him.

The weekend was a whirlwind. Everyone pitched in to help. We decorated the church and the reception hall. Brooke and my niece both sang during the ceremony. Another niece read scripture. My nephew served as both usher and groomsman. Ana was responsible for the guest book. Jon was the “official” photographer and Katrina assisted. The groom’s son served as an usher and his daughter passed out programs. My brother and his wife were host and hostess – and I helped my sister by being her personal assistant. Doug chauffeured us all weekend and Sonny was on hand to help wherever needed.

At the reception, someone requested “We Are Family,” made popular by Sister Sledge, as the last song played by the DJ. Every family member formed a circle and danced – including my parents. The “kids” grabbed their two newest cousins’ hands and made sure that they joined in. At first we danced with the bride and groom in the center, and then my dad and his grandaughters took a turn.

I looked around the circle that had grown once again, and would continue to grow as our children have their own.

And I thought . . .

My family is far from perfect. We have our flaws. We irritate each other. Like every other family we’re dysfunctional in various ways.

But at that time and place, we were all together, celebrating in unison.

We are family.



  1. This post was so wonderful! I felt like I could see and hear the joy, nervousness and laughter of your family gathering!
    Congratulations on being in a family that is warm enough to open the circle and invite new ones in!

  2. Thanks for leaving a comment, RCL!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    The world can be a rough place at times - but it helps if families can stick together. :-D


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