October 29, 2012

Karla’s Korner: The Importance of a Chosen Family

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

The Importance of a Chosen Family…

This past week my husband and children surprised me with a birthday party. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. I had absolutely no idea that they were planning to honor me and feel truly blessed by the work it took to pull it all off.

As I stood in the middle of the party crowd with my daughter she noted that those in attendance were a perfect blend of who I am. There were work friends, church friends, my NASCAR friends, family (my husband and children) and those whom I choose to call family. Actually, everyone there is part of my chosen family which in no way means that my biological family means less, it just means that I believe that family can be defined in various ways.

When I joined my husband at the altar 23 years ago and left home for the first time my family dynamic changed. I went from being someone’s daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter or cousin to also being someone’s wife. As a result of our nuptials we created a new family; one that would grow with the births of our two children and hopefully somewhere down our life road grandchildren. Moving away and starting our life together meant finding our way into a new community and forming new friendships, something that we have done over and over with each move we have made. When my husband and I moved the first time I thought my heart would break as I said good-bye to my dear friend Mindy. She had become like a sister to me and leaving was difficult. The second time we moved I left behind an older couple who had become like another set of parents to David and I and grandparents to our children. Once again, the heart break was intense and it was at that point I promised myself that I would never get that close to anyone again because leaving hurt too much. That promise lasted about six months and four years later when I stood in my kitchen and said good-bye to my sweet best friend Mindy (yes, another Mindy) I could barely breathe. Somehow I was supposed to walk away from the life I had in Georgia and return to Virginia and once again start over. I hated starting over; it was scary and very unpredictable. Being a creature of habit and control all these changes were not setting very well with me.

So there I stood, nine years later in a room full of people who had come together to celebrate my birthday; to celebrate me . The room was full of people of all ages, colors, religious faiths and beliefs and they were all there for me. My daughter beamed as she shared “Mom, this group is so you….this group is the perfect combination of who you really are.” As the tears began to fill my eyes I remembered that promise I made to not get close to anyone years ago I was so thankful that I broke that promise. Being part of a biological family is special; being loved by our “blood” relatives is important and necessary and should be cherished. But I believe that being part of a chosen family is just as important.

Life is about relationships, community and belonging to something that brings us a sense of stability, comfort and most of all love. I like to think of myself as someone who strives to bring that kind of love and stability to those around me. I have been so blessed with special relationships in my life that at times I struggle to find the right words. Each person in that room (those who were not) bring a certain uniqueness to my chosen family. Each one is a vital piece of my life puzzle.

Do you have a chosen family? Are there people in your life who make your life better because they are in it? I believe that we all need that chosen family; we all need to belong to that extended group of people who love us because they want to and because those relationships add value to our lives. If you love someone tell them. I remember being told many years ago that women shouldn’t be friends with other men when they are married because it wasn’t right. I disagree. I believe that all relationships are important no matter if it’s between men or women. Having chosen brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and even children in our lives is key to living in community and love; something I believe we
were created to do. Live life, love others and celebrate families…biological and chosen.



Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles here.

Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

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