I was reflecting on one conversation in particular. This beautiful friend lost her father at the end of May this year. This is her first holiday season without him. I understand her grief in so many ways. I told her recently how I pick up the phone to dial my dad's number whenever something amazing happens to me, then I lay the phone down because I know he's never going to answer the phone. She's been checking her phone for messages from her dad and realizing he will never call her again. Two women met due to, well...similar interests, yet bonded in so many ways...losing our fathers is merely one of so many.
The conversation we had on the way to the solstice bonfire came back and made me realize that these people, though I haven't known them long, are my family. I don't have to hide who I am, what I believe, or any other thing you can imagine. They accept me for simply being me. They don't judge (okay, maybe a little, but that's okay) me for my faith, my beliefs, my relationship status, or anything else. I think we hug more than most families, too. And I mean those nice long hugs that tell you that these people miss you when you're not around and care about you. That is so nice! I'm such a touchy-feely person. I love to touch and be touched.
My family may not be made up of a mother, father, and siblings. My family is one of friends who are very like-minded. We are accepting of each other's weird little quirks and love each other in spite (or because) of them.
Last night was the only "real" holiday I will spend with family. That is perfectly fine by me since I've had way too many family holidays where I feel like the odd man out. I'm usually the butt of the jokes with my biological family. With my 'self-made' family, everyone gets equal teasing and ribbing, but when we walk away, it's always with a hug and a promise to see each other again soon.
I want to take this moment to tell you this: Family is who stands with you, for you, and beside you. It doesn't have to be people who share the same DNA or bloodline. Your family is those who accept you at your best and love you at your worst. They are the ones who allow you to be zany, off the wall, serious, mournful, loving, and most of all, yourself.
I want to wish you and yours a very Happy Winter Solstice, a Blessed Yule, a Merry Christmas, and most of all, an incredibly wonderful New Year!!!