I love the concept of family. My mother was the youngest of twelve children; she's still on good terms and in regular contact with her siblings. Despite the fact that I've only met most of my cousins, and many of them only once or twice, all of us who are members of the Payne clan know that we have connections.
Need a place to stay while in the area? Sure! So what if we're only vaguely aware we're related; we'll learn more about each other and help a family member out. It's a marvelous feeling, one of belonging.
I have been blessed in the past year to add to our family in multiple ways. Our youngest boy was born, and I gained a new set of in-laws.
We call them his "foster parents" sometimes, but people make weird assumptions. So they're just Virginia mom and Virginia dad.
My husband had mentioned in the past that when his parents moved back to the United States after living abroad that he stayed behind with a family of the same faith for quite some time. When we moved East, he mentioned that their house would only be a couple hours out of our way on our trip to our new home. He had been in regular contact with them.
I felt weird about this. Are you sure they'll want us in their house for a week? We have two noisy kids! I don't know these people! We're not even related! Turns out I had no need to fear; they were wonderful and kind to my swollen, pregnant, and tired self.
I have been given the blessing of a third mother and father in my life. Another family who care deeply about my husband, myself, and my children. More people to turn to for advice in difficult situations. A place to go when we have a long weekend to enjoy playing games, cooking together, and discussing whatever suits our fancy.
It has taught me that making investments in good relationships is something that reaps incredible rewards. We really can choose to expand the family circle, and it's a circle that can grow more loving the larger it becomes.