Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Longing to Belong...

aka...the need for family

I have been reading a lot of Cesar Millan's books in an effort to better understand my dogs and possibly get them to behave a bit better. (the reality is it is me who needs to behave a bit better) And one of the things that keeps striking me is the fact that dog's are pack animals and need to be part of a pack. They don't like to be solo and in the wild they wouldn't be solo.

The reality is that as humans we really aren't so different. We want to belong to something. You see it all the time in teenagers they cling to different groups even if they aren't good because at least they are accepted. But you also see it in adults. Each of us has a family of origin...we were born or adopted into a family that raised us. Some families are good, some families are not so good, and some families are just bad but they all have one thing in common they are our families. We didn't choose them...they didn't necessarily choose us but we are what we have.

I am blessed I was born into a loving family with two mostly normal parents and an older brother. I love them and would not be the woman I am today without their love and support. Now don't get me wrong we have had our rough spots but ultimately I was lucky to have a wonderful and healthy family life growing up. But I know others were not.

J was blessed to have been adopted by a wonderful family who gave him a similar upbringing to mine. And he is also blessed to have a relationship with his two biological siblings as well. He floored me when he said he had 6 sisters and a brother. I have a brother. You could see the intimidation factor.

We recently had a second wedding for my family and our friends here. His parents were able to join us and it was wonderful. It made us very aware of the family connections that we have and hold dear.

But we have also realized that some people are not as fortunate as we are and their families are not as wonderful. Sometimes the best thing they can say about their childhood is that it over. And because of this they are looking for a place to belong. The beauty of connection is that our family of origin is not our only family.

J and I are a family as a couple with four-legged children. Our family has brought both of us a calm because it is ours and only ours. But we also belong to other families...our church family, our family of friends, our work families, the Harley family, the pitbull owner family, and many more. Sometimes the place you belong is the place you create with friends, co-workers, people of fellow interest, etc and not so much the family you grew up with. Over time you realize that you are who you are thanks to family, friends, enemies, and experiences. All of them important and all of them different.

Where do you find your belonging spot?