Sunday, October 4, 2015

Creating Your Own Family

I just realized a bookish fact about me this morning. Right after I finished reading Lady Fortsecue Steps Out.

Image result for lady fortescue steps outImage result for lady fortescue steps out


I own the cover on the left, though I do like this newer silhouette one on the right. Anyhoo, what I realized: I like books where people create their own families. Either because there's are all gone, or are horrible. This excerpt from the end of Lady Fortescue Steps Out is what prompted me in my realization. 

The poor relations sat on a bench and watched their shadows growing longer in the setting sun. Somehow the old fears of what would become of them and whether they would continue to survive assailed all of them. 

A reaction to the wedding and to all the luxury they had recently enjoyed was setting in. 

Children's voices blown on a light breeze reached Lady Fortescue's ears and she thought of her dead children and unconsciously took the colonel's hand for comfort. 

Sir Philip scowled and took Lady Fortescue's other hand in his. Miss Tonks, suddenly frightened by the temerity of what she had promised, took the colonel's hand, the one not holding Lady Fortescue's, for reassurance, and Mrs. Budley's hand stole into Miss Tonks's. 

And so they sat like that for a long time, hand in hand, until the sun went down and candles began to twinkle in the windows of the houses across the Park. 

* * * 

I'm one of those people who created their own family over the years. First, there was an elderly lady who lived behind us growing up. She went to church where we went, and helped out my single mom so much. We loved hanging out at her house in the evenings, sitting on their back porch, and swinging on their porch swing. 

She was the one who came over in February, the first Christmas after my mom died, and gently, but lovingly, told me it was time to take down the Christmas tree (and helped me do it). She passed away this summer, and it was so sad to say good-bye to a lady who helped shape my childhood. But she left behind so many people that she touched with her smile and always, that hug. 

Then there's the couple who I call my adopted parents. They lived two doors down from my grandfather's, and didn't mind at all when I attached myself to their hip. They were such a huge support for me and my grandpa. I ate meals with them, celebrated the holidays with them, and became a permanent lump on their couch, reading in the evenings. 

So it's no surprise that I love books where I see my own actions reflected back. Where people--young or old--create their own families. There is something so strong and compelling about seeing these relationships form, seeing someone say by either words or actions: I choose you. 

It's a beautiful thing!

26 comments:

  1. This is beautiful! I'm so glad for the people in my life, both family and not, who have stepped in to fill the holes in my life.

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  2. I loved reading this post, perfect for a Sunday.

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  3. Lovely post, Leandra. I come from a broken family and over the years have had other father figures, aunties and uncles who became my family. In India, even the language exemplifies this. Your aunties and uncles are not just the ones by blood but also the ones by choice. My own children have extra aunties and uncles!

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    1. It's definitely so neat when you expand family beyond the border of blood-only- it creates so many meaningful connections that make life even richer, for sure!

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  4. I love this - what a beautiful idea this is. I love to create my own family as well, or more precisely, I like to add to my family. I love my actual family, but I also like to adopt as I go along. Nothing better than having family as friends, and friends as family.

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    1. Yes, adding to family is perfect. I am so incredibly luck to have ah.maz.ing in-laws that live just around the corner from me. You know all the horrible in-law stories you hear? I lucked out! =D

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  5. Loved this! Wonderful post about what makes a family. I live far from my own and have "created" many families for myself over the years. They're all so special! Lovely post Leandra! :)

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    1. They are special! And thank you, Venessa.

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  6. I'd never really thought about this before. I've always considered friends our own age replacing family. But your honest and insightful comments about creating a family from different sorts of people is really fascinating. I've never had that, but now I see caregivers and family come in all shapes and how kind some people are in this life. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Lexa! And friendships are definitely powerful glues that help hold us up.

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  7. I realized long ago that "family" are the people who are in our lives every single day, not our blood relatives. I don't have children of my own and at one time I was worried nobody would be around to take care of me in old age. A coworker with kids said, "My kids aren't going to take care of me when I'm old. Are you kidding? Kids today are selfish!" So far, that's been kind of right. The people I know with kids watch their kids move far away when they grow up, coming to visit maybe once or twice a year. The people who are there for them, taking them to medical appointments and hanging out with them, are neighbors, friends, and church members.

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    1. You're such a kind and caring person, Stephanie, I have no doubt there will be people around for you in your declining years. And I've seen some amazing neighbors over the years. I'm lucky my Grandpa has some great ones that live across the street from him, and look out for him.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about your elderly friend. My condolences. Family needn't be blood.

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    1. For sure! (tho I love my blood family just as much) =)

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  9. Although I am lucky enough to have an extensive family -- many of whom live in a close radius to me -- I did see characters in my books (I'm sure you know which ones) creating a family of their own in spite of having no blood ties. It happens. Blood may be thicker than water, but family is stronger than blood.

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    1. That's one of the reasons I liked TED & TIM so much then! =)

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  10. I very much agree~ the idea that one's family is made up of sources of support, no matter who they are, has always been one of my favorites, both in life and literature.

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  11. oh I LOVE this. It's something I never really thought much about, but you're so right. And I love stories like this too. I'm reading a book now that kind of touches on this and it's really so sweet, when someone chooses the people that make them a family :)

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    1. What book is this, Beth? Is it a contemp? Curious! =)

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  12. Lovely post, Leandra. Personal connections with all sorts of people makes the world go round!

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  13. We have a few of those "family" members, people we call aunt and uncle even though there's no relation. It helps having them around when blood-relatives live far away. :)

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  14. What a lovely post! I'm a firm believer in the saying that "it takes a village to raise a child." And even though people may not be blood relation, I love the bonds that can form to make them feel like family. I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your elderly neighbor growing up. But how wonderful that she was there for you at such a difficult time. Thank heavens for all the people in our lives who act as family even when we aren't related!

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