July 29, 2017 (Happy Birthday Grandma!)

On today, what would have been my Grandmother’s 87 birthday I reflect on her life and what family means to me. My grandma, Aliceann, was the youngest of 3 children. Growing up I got to spend good quality time with her that I didn’t fully appreciate until she was gone. She was a high school educator with a firm style of teaching. When I would visit her, she would teach me a lot of things about her world at the moment. She taught me how to play solitaire, how to dance freely, and how to spell my name properly. She would ask me, how do I spell my name. I would tell her and basically every time I started she would stop me until I learned my lesson. The lesson was that my name started with an uppercase ‘J.’ This lesson taught me to value and respect the name my mother gave me.

I am grateful for family that is not blood, but family nonetheless. My mom’s family on either side was not very big and did not have many children my age while growing up. I only grew up with one cousin as a playmate during elementary school and mainly because we lived behind each other. As we got older we drifted apart, as people do in life. Thank goodness we’re family because we still get to build our bond as long as we’re both willing. I am glad that no matter what friends and associates may come and go, my family will always be there as a support system.

All my life I have had a big family. They may not all be blood, but when you know people all your life they become family. Outside of my biological family groups, I have at least 4 adopted family groups. Each of them has started out as friendships through my mom, but I have over the course of time inherited 2 sisters, a brother, a host of aunts, uncles, multiple grandparents and my nice and nephews. Having a niece and nephews is an awesome experience because you get to be integral in their development, but not full time. For me this works because I get to have some ideas of sacrifices I would make for my own children. Each of them has a special place in my heart.

When thinking about my future and my family, I have no clue what it will look like. What I hope it will look like is that my family is always there as an encouraging support system. They are already extremely supportive of me now, where I am in my in my journey. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when I continue to grow in my purpose.

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