I grew up in household of a mother, a father, a sister and a dog. We were not the perfect family by any means. We were a middle – hardworking class family who struggled with debt; the “bird and the bees” conversation consisted of “You betta not come home pregnant (with enough force that you knew what you should not do if you wanted to live).” There were ups and downs however my parents made sure food was always on the table, the lights were on, manners and respect to our elders was always given and you worked hard for what you wanted in life.
I was never allowed to take the easy road out of anything. If I wanted to know what a word meant, I had to look it up in the dictionary and to show I knew what it meant; I had to give the definition/use it in a sentence. When I began my first job, a 15 and 9 months, the only way I was going to get my license and a car was if I kept a job. And so, I did. When I turned 19, responsibility was solely on me. My mom helped me with a career change, I moved out of my parents’ house and started the process of becoming an independent woman. Did I have a few setbacks? Yes but, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
Thinking I was Grown
One Thanksgiving I decided to challenge my father…I thought I was grown and he should have respected my opinion and I his. Instead, the conversation was one sided and in return placed a huge strain on our relationship resulting in us not speaking to each for several months. It was tough on me because, I lost a huge part of my life; my dad, someone who was always there for me. Results of that one event affected other aspects of my life in a negative manner. It changed who I was and I how I treated others, especially men.
Fast-forward to My Now
I never truly remember how my dad and I began speaking to each other again however; I know our relationship has blossomed into an unbreakable bond. When my son was born, my dad showed up to the hospital – showing his grandson and I so much luv, when I was struggling to buy my sons formula – he purchased some from Amazon for me, when my house was flooded – he gave me a place to stay until it was fixed, when he sees his grandson he makes sure he has chocolate chip cookies for him, when I said I wanted to build a Jenga Set we spent all day cutting and sanding wood, when we hang out with the family he makes sure I am enjoying myself and not solely focusing on my son, when we talk on the phone – we are able to talk about politics, family, life, sports, etc.
So…yes I am a Daddy’s Gurl. My mom and my dad have always been there for me, my mom to teach me how to be a woman but, my dad to teach me how a man should love me and take care of his family. He was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and no man or woman ever is however, when it counted he always there. Daddy’s Gurl does not mean spoiled or overly attached to her father in my eyes. Rather, what you should expect in your future husband.
Over the weekend, I witnessed a beautiful union of friendship, luv, respect, companionship, truthfulness, and security and was honored to be a part of it alongside friends and family. As everyone gave their speeches and congratulated the couple on their union and as the bride and groom thanked everyone, it got me to thinking what it means to be a family. According to Merriam – Webster family is:
- “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
- a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage.
- the children of a person or couple.
- a person or people related to one and so to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy.
- a group of people united in criminal activity.
- Biology – a principal taxonomic category that ranks above genus and below order, usually ending in -idae (in zoology) or -aceae (in botany).
- group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.
- Mathematics – a group of curves or surfaces obtained by varying the value of a constant in the equation generating them.
- all the descendants of a common ancestor.”
However, none of the definitions speak of friends being family.
I come from a huge family, I have 11 aunts and uncles and 40+ cousins…and that’s just in Maryland. I am not including those in other states because the numbers would increase tremendously and still wouldn’t change the fact I feel closest to a single handful of my fam. For some of my family members, I feel like we are associates more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I luv my family and wouldn’t trade them for the world however, there are times when it feels as if my handful of family and my handful of friends are the only family I have. I have friends who would go to the end of world and back for me and I them, when some of my family would rather take advantage.
So, as I witnessed the union over the weekend and listened to the bride speak of her friends being her family, again, I realized definitions are frameworks to be enhanced by one’s interpretation of their life. In this instance, she spoke of bonds between her best friends who when told that she was getting married, they stepped up and asked “what do you need from me?” Their joy and excitement for her happiness surpassed what she expected and that spoke volumes during the event. Those who are mother’s to other’s became her adoptive mother in a single moment, and “sister’s in law” lost the “in law” title because they are more than what society has deemed her to be, instead she became a true sister/and supporter. And, the wondering of why “true” family did not receive invitations faded away from my mind and an understanding of her definition of family became the truth. This was and is not to say that she luvs her family any less than she luvs her friends; rather to say, family comes in many forms. She chose those have always been there to support, luv, guide and nurture her to be there to witness her union.
As I end, family is what you make of it, friends, unions (marriage), pets, and/or your true family as defined by Webster. After seeing a different definition of the word “family,” I have come to respect all aspects of what my family is the good, the bad, the ugly, the dysfunctional, and the wonderful.