The Path of Family
In June, I had the privilege of engaging in a heartwarming conversation with a cousin—the kind that lingers in your heart, leaving behind cherished memories brimming with love, respect, and connection. You know, those rare, invaluable moments that stay etched in your mind? Well, this was one of those times. After bidding our farewells, my cousin, Tylor, sent me a text containing a profound statement:
Having family is nice. Acting like family is even nicer.
At that very instant, I knew that this statement would be the essence of August's theme. Each month I like to identify a theme for my growth and progression. So leading up to the month, I observe the world around me and listen for what I need. Once the theme is selected, just by putting it out into the universe, opportunities arise for that concept to take deeper root in my life, providing a chance for me to address specific needs.
So, here we are, welcoming August—which we've already journeyed over a third of the way into the month—and family has definitely been central to my focus.
For ten days, my sister and her family from California intermittently stayed with us. I also attended a wedding reception for the eldest son of a cherished cousin, this was such a joyful way to reunite with numerous beloved extended family members. Plus, during these past days, I've exchanged texts with my brothers, engaged in valuable conversations with my mother, and shared moments with a dear friend as she spoke about her own family. And this month has many more family experiences in its grasp.
This theme has taken root in my mind, guiding me down avenues of discovery, inquiry, and reflection. What truly defines family? How do we embody the essence of family? When does acting like family bring about positivity? Conversely, when does it pose challenges? When does it heal, and when does it hurt? When do we feel secure within our family's embrace, and when does that bond waver?
Back in the Fall of 2017, my youngest cousin on my dad’s side asked me what our grandparents were like. For the first time, I recognized she didn’t know the people who had left our family with a huge legacy of love. From there, an idea sprouted—a concept that aimed to preserve the cherished memories of my grandparents. It involved organizing a girls' retreat, welcoming aunts, cousins, and cousins-in-law. As part of coming to the retreat, the request is that each guest share a story about our grandparents.
Soon after the idea came, I found myself swept up in life’s current undertakings – a major home improvement project, the upheaval of moving, the grip of a global pandemic, career transitions, and more. However, this week, as I drove with my sister to the wedding reception, I unveiled this lingering family history retreat idea. She loved it. With enthusiasm, she shared it with cousins, and this concept I'd mulled over for six years suddenly took life.
This morning, I began planning, and it seems that in 2024, this long-awaited endeavor might finally take flight.
My cousins, on both sides of my family, are a treasure beyond measure. Each one has left an indelible mark on my life's canvas. Witnessing others who lack close ties with their cousins, I'm reminded of life's inequities. While I've encountered my share of injustices concerning the concept of family, destiny has generously granted me the favorable side of the coin when it comes to cousin relationships. I can't emphasize enough how immensely blessed I am. Every cousin, in their unique way, has illuminated my life's path.
Already this month has taught me so much. I look forward to exploring more what family is, how far this concept reaches, and what it personally means to me to then act like family.
The coming days hold promises of more growth and understanding, and I eagerly await what the rest of August has in store.
For the month of August, there will be no giveaway.
Stay tuned for future giveaways as we look forward to the last quarter of the 2023 Celebration.