It’s fair to say I come from a pretty small family – and what family I do have are not local. My brother, his wife and children live in the US and my cousins are in Australia, the US and in the South Island of New Zealand. My hubby comes from a bigger family but they are all on the other side of the planet in the UK. And while it is doubtless a much smaller small world than it used to be with modern travel and communication technology, there’s still no substitute for being able to get together – and not just on high days and holidays.
This was brought home to me just recently as my brother and his family came to visit. His children are six and eight, full of that delicious promise of youth, brimming with wide-eyed enthusiasm and utterly delightful. For one glorious week I found myself in Auntie heaven, making sandcastles, looking in rock pools and watching the two of them bond with my two children. It was a very special time.
It was also extremely hard to say goodbye, not knowing when we will see them again.
That small world that everyone talks about just isn’t quite small enough for my liking.
I’ve also been reflecting on how much I love my own family – how proud I am of my children, how I enjoy watching them grow and develop and face life’s challenges with courage and determination. I would quite literally do anything for them.
I’ve come to a conclusion that, in a strange way, that distance – that separation – that lies between us does make me feel an enormous gratitude for all of my family near and far and for the times we do get to spend together. I feel I’m in no danger of taking them for granted or not appreciating their specialness.
Perhaps some of this is reflected in my writing, in the way that I like to bring groups of people together as I tell my stories. Things don’t always go smoothly (I’m not totally living in a fool’s paradise!) but forged bonds and connections are ultimately where most of my novels end.
So I encourage you to take a fresh look at your family, to hug them and accept them with all their faults and foibles. Because, at the end of the day, family are the most precious gift we have – and ultimately, everything is about our love of family.
Coming soon. . .