Chosen Family

Holidays provide time for rest and reflection.

Family Day is a special holiday, because it comes after Valentines and the anniversary of finalizing T’s adoption in court.

When T was a toddler, we loved reading Todd Parr’s Family Book, which spoke about families in all forms – nuclear, single parent or multi-generational households, same sex parents, adoption, bereaved families.

One thing that’s clearer as I get older is the importance of chosen family.

Family is not just defined by blood. It’s about bonds formed by choice over time, respect and love.

Last night, we enjoyed hotpot at a friend’s home – and the shared cooking and conversation felt wonderful and soothing.

T enjoyed playing with our friends’ teenaged kids, who were once much younger than T was.

As a parent of a child with FASD, quiet free time is a luxury and my circle – my chosen family – has tightened the last few years.

In many cases, the pandemic has created distance and in some cases, I decided to not spend my energy on fairweather relationships.

I am very thankful for the relationships that have endured through my parenting journey.

And I wish for T to be blessed, as I am, with his own chosen family as he moves through life – relationships that are respectful, soul-filling, lasting and that help keep him on the right path.

39 thoughts on “Chosen Family

  1. Yes, I’m all for the chosen family! I’m so happy that you and T that you have such a good one! And that you are teaching him what family really means – choosing to surround yourselves with those you love and respect and who reciprocate both. Such a great way to define it!

    The topic of chosen family always gets me stuck on the quote that often gets misquoted as “blood is thicker than water” but really it’s “blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb.”

    1. Thanks Caitlyn. We’re lucky to have a good chosen family and I hope it continues this way as the years progress.

      I love that quote. I didn’t realize the full quote and it makes so much more sense seeing it in its entirety. 😊 I’m going to remember that for next time.

      Hope you are doing well!

  2. When I moved to WNY, I had to create my chosen family – we call each other Sista and spend holidays, joyous times, and trying times together. They visit our daughter Jessica when I am out of town, I do not ask – they do it because they are family. Beautiful post, Ab – and a great reminder of the power of chosen family!

    1. Thanks Vickie! Your own chosen family of Sistas sounds so heartwarming and wonderful. I’m glad you have this support system around Jess. Hope you’re all keeping warm on this frigid day!

  3. My 2 year old piglet with spina bifida, clubbed feet and no leg function is a warrior. She also has poor bladder function. This was detected by a doctor not long after her birth. Despite the appointments and aids I love her.
    We play games and watch quiz shows too. We have fun in town at the shops. We do gardening, reading, arts and crafts and baking. We travel out of town and try new things. We visit other museums, galleries and zoos.
    We learn a new skill. We listen to the news. We do pampering sessions. We take daily nature walks. We sit down at the kitchen table in order to learn.

    1. Thank you Thara for sharing your story. It sounds to me that you and your little one have a full life and do so many fun activities together. It is amazing the love you can feel for your child despite the appointments and the aids as you say. Best wishes to you both. 💕

    1. Thank you Diane. It was a delicious night out.

      My next post is gonna be air fryer related. I’ve been using it quite a bit and love it so! 😊

  4. What a beautiful post! With age, I’ve also learned that family extends beyond blood. My circle shrunk with chronic illness and than covid, but the two close friends that have stuck around through thick and thin… they are my family, no questions asked. How luck T is to have such an incredible family!

    1. Thank you for sharing this. Hard times do, for better or for worse, reveal who are our true friends or family. I’m glad your close friends stuck by you. And wishing you continued recovery and wellness.

  5. Sounds like you made the most of Family Day!! I couldn’t agree more about how family is more than who we’re related to. And the best part with our chosen families is that we get a choice and that it’s not an obligation. We only have a finite amount of time and it’s nice to be able to spend it how you want and with who.

    1. I totally agree. Time is such a luxury these days. 🙂 Hope you and K had a good time at the cottage this past weekend.

      1. For sure. It was nice to return to the cabin, especially after our failed attempt for New Year’s, and enjoy the warmer weather. Hopefully we’re able to squeeze in another visit before mosquito season.

      2. It is hard to believe that March is around the corner. I can’t wait for daylight savings in two weeks. The days are going to start feeling longer again!

  6. While family is traditionally defined by blood, as I grow older I realize more and more that family in the real sense — one that you feel you belong, that gives you comfort, that provides support no matter what, that accepts you — is formed by genuine connections. I wish we had something like Todd Parr’s Family Book here in Indonesia, in Indonesian, because a lot of my fellow countrymen are still very traditional when it comes to the definition of family. But anyway, the food looks yummy!

    1. Thanks Bama and I wholeheartedly agree! I think books are a great gateway to learning about other people and cultures and I think education is key to building awareness, empathy and understanding. And hence you’re seeing books and libraries getting targeted by the far right in the US by the right. It’s a shame really.

      And yes, the hotpot was yummy! Have you tried it before?

  7. What a great read! I first hand knit blood doesn’t define family. I have met some members of my birth fily, and after initiating texts, I am done. It hurts, but it is not worth my energy. I am hopeful things will change, but if not, I have my true family and friends. As do you all. Keep on keeping on! You are blessed!

    1. Thanks for sharing that Rebecca. I remember you sharing some of your childhood story during your talk to our parenting group a few weeks ago. But I didn’t realize that it had caused you pain to contact your birth family. I’m so sorry to hear that.

      Blood alone does not define family and I’m glad you are surrounded with true family and friends. That indeed is the best blessing in life.

      1. Oh my goodness I should have read my comment prior to sending lol. Lolol. Its all good. It is my cousin on my.moms side. Once her dad passed away contact stopped. I do think she is going through alot and I understand she has her own life.

  8. I must admit single parenting and Covid drastically shrunk my relationship network. But I’ve found those relationships that are meant to last. These are always the two way relationships, people who genuinely want to be there.

    1. Than

      Thanks Gary. I find parenting as a duo to be very difficult so you have my utmost respect for doing it on your own. I have a feeling you and I both value quality over quantity – and I rather have a few genuine two-way relationships than many fairweather ones! 🙏

  9. This is such a touching post, AB. Having a network of loving relationships is so important. Like you, as I’ve grown older, I’m so grateful for all of my friend/family. I hope you all had a wonderful time! And happy anniversary 💕

    1. Thank you! 😊 I agree that the chosen relationships are so important and out of everything in my life, these are among the handful of things I truly cherish.

  10. Family Day – what a wonderful celebration! Love this reflection on our families by choice – so important for sure. Wishing T the warmth and comfort of family and friends throughout life!

    1. Thank you Wynne. We’re lucky to have this day, although if I can speak honestly, it was introduced to win political points. Oh well, the day off got my vote. 😆 Hope you all enjoyed your getaway weekend too!

    1. Thank you Margie! Yes, we really lucked out in life. 😊🙏 Let me know next time you’re in the GTA and I can recommend some. Alternatively, you can go to an Asian grocer like T&T and get hot ready cuts of meal and sauces. Might make a nice camper meal too!

  11. This is beautiful Ab! I’d like to share a prayer that I recently learned & pray daily for myself, my children & others I care for as well as your family.
    “Ja’bez Prayer” (1 Chronicles 4:10)
    “Dear God, oh that Youu would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil.”

    1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful passage, Tammy. This is a wonderful meditation and says so succinctly what it is I hold for with T. 🙏

    1. Thank you Serena. I wholeheartedly agree. I’m glad you also mentioned the word tenacity through the thick and thin because that’s where some relationships sadly come apart. Thank goodness for the lasting ensuing relationships that we are blessed with.

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