I grew up with a small family with extended members residing in the midwest and eastern states. My immediate family was all I knew, and while we were small in number, we had each other and it was good.
When I married my husband and inherited an extended family of epic proportions, I had no idea what it meant to be part of something so big. There was so much history, so many traditions, so many names, and so many people I feared I’d have to somehow win over. But my husband’s family wasn’t like that. They loved him for the person he was and for the place he held in their family. He was more than just a son, nephew, uncle, brother, or grandchild by title; he was a beloved piece of his family’s living history and suddenly, so was I.
Thrust into a family so much bigger than my own was a little daunting at first, but one thing was always crystal clear: I belonged. I wasn’t an outsider looking in, a person with cultural differences, a person who had to work for acceptance, I was family. Simple. [read more…]