My Uncle Jim has been my Uncle Jim for my whole life. His wife, my Auntie Sue will always be my Auntie Sue. Their daughters are like sisters to us and we’ve been best friends since birth. They are Fr-amily.
The term Fr-amily never existed when we were kids. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have known the difference anyway because when I was a kid, these people didn’t come with terms, they were just family.
They still are family.
But flash forward 30 plus years now, and I live here in Tennessee with my own family and my family back in California isn’t here. And it's the holiday season.
And on Christmas eve just a few nights ago, as I observed the children running around our home in Red and sparkly clothing singing Christmas carols and us adults were eating and drinking Christmas cheer, I witnessed my own very own, Fr-amily.
When you grow up in a tight knit family with several extended friends/that are family, you only hope you can have the same sort of beautiful dynamic as an adult, as you did as a child.
And I do. And it's Fr-amily. And it matters.
If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that I would be married to a Southern Boy living in Nashville, Tennessee with twins, a 5 year old and a teenage stepson, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I wrote about this last week, about how missing your family back “home” for Christmas can be tough and creating new memories can be even tougher, on the heart. Well, I’m here to tell you, Christmas eve this year proved once again, that Christmas is what you make it. And because we live far from our families, we make it Fr-amily and it felt just like it should, it felt like Christmas.
The kids running through the house had me reminiscing my childhood, the wine was drunk and glasses broke, diapers were changed, songs were sung, food was ate and the Christmas cheer permeated through the house like a scene out of “Love Actually”. It was everything I’ve ever wanted. (insert tears/happy heart)
I’m older now. Wiser now. See things a little more clearly now. The importance of Fr-amily is more prevalent now. It’s everything. And here’s why. I left home and moved to Tennessee 10 years ago and didn’t know one person. I didn’t have any family. I had myself, my suitcases, my silver Bmw, a Dell computer and a guitar. And one by one, I made friends, carefully and thoughtfully. I was comforted. One by one, we made traditions, we made relationships, and I found myself a home in Tennessee, a place I belonged.
I'll never forget meeting my first (Fr-amily) friend in Nashville. I had just moved back to America from the UK (the ex-again, read back a few blogs to explain) and I met her the first month I was in Nashville in the old "Wild Oats" parking lot. She had an English accent and was kind and immediately friendly. After being in the UK so long and being used to the Brits and Scots, I felt at home with her and when she invited me over to her house for a "cuppa", we instantly became best friends. She's been my Fr-amily from day one along with the rest of them. There the day I got married and the days I gave birth to my children. This is why Fr-amily matters.
Flash forward to today, I have the same friends, many more, 4 children and a life I call my own. I’m incredibly grateful. (P.S, sorry for shortage of photos, but I was the host and no, I didn't hire a photographer for Christmas Eve.)
When I talked to my Mom and Dad yesterday and they asked me how Christmas Eve was, I told them it was perfect. And it was. But truthfully, I was missing them.
This, is why Fr-amily.
It helps the tinge in your heart. The “I’m not going home for Christmas” tugging at your emotions as soon as you see the Christmas tree lots come up. The non “Love Actually” airport moment that doesn't actually happen this year because you have small children and you’re home in “your home” for the holidays.
Friends make everything better. They just do. They comfort you in times of need. They make you feel safe. They make you feel at home. They celebrate with you. And if you’re lucky enough, they feel like family.
30 years from now my Uncle Jim might not be here, but Unlce Kip might, or Uncle Nate. Choose your Fr-amily wisely. We’re not getting any younger. The kids are growing up. The memories are being made, right in front of your eyes. Savor that. Be comforted in that. It’s your life. In black and white. And 30 years from now, we’ll be the older folks, holding on to our yesterdays. I already am. I can see it. And I hope my Fr-amily is right here.