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  • Writer's pictureIona Stuart

My Beautifully Complicated Family*

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Happy Monday, everyone!

As National Siblings Day is coming up on April 10th, I thought I’d write a post about family. My family (like many others out there) is quite complex and encompasses a lot of people. Family dynamics are such interesting creatures and, on occasion, I find myself simply sitting and marveling at what these are and how they change.

Personally, I see there to be three main types of family: family by blood, family by marriage, and family by love. I think that how people categorize the relationships in their lives depends entirely on their own dynamic, and so what I count as family in my life, someone else may not include in their own. For example, someone who is adopted as a newborn is probably unlikely to rank ‘family by blood’ on their list.

Now, I would just like to explain what I mean by the categories in my brain of ‘family by marriage’ and ‘family by love.’ These two may sound the same, and yes, in some circumstances I do expect them to be the same. In the instance of finding your soulmate and marrying them, then you both become family by marriage and family by love. This could also be the same if either party has kids and they find themselves with new parent or sibling relationships – well, you know, unless it happens to be one of those Cinderella and the evil step-mother sort of situations, in which case I would suspect a lack of love (and this does happen).

However, the main point of view that I have on my internal categorization of family by love is perhaps more akin to what Armistead Maupin calls, in his so-titled memoir, the ‘logical family’ (which is a book I came across after reading this post by Catherine Lanser). Maupin writes, “Sooner or later, we have to venture beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us.”

For me, this is extremely important, because living and finding my own family by love is a great deal of what held me together. There is something almost magical about finding people who become your family because you choose one another, faults and all, purely due to the fact that the love, closeness, and bonds that you find and create are so strong that biology doesn’t matter.

I have a wonderful family, by blood and by love. And within that mix, I have four wonderful siblings – ranging from 15 years older than me, to 3 years younger than me. So, I suppose all I can say is that I wish a happy National Siblings Day to my beautifully complicated family!

*edited repost from original website

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