Q. I do not have family to celebrate holidays and this used to depress me but now I realize family of choice is a joyful gift. Why did it take me so long to realize this?

A. Family is not always about blood. It’s about who is willing to hold your hand when you need it the most.
This Thanksgiving my daughter and I spent the holiday with six people that I did not know. She knew four of them. They invited us into their home, shared their amazing food and loved us as if they had known us forever. I sat at the table holding hands with these strangers while my daughter said the Lord’s Prayer in french. The man who owned the house, Dain, asked us what we were grateful for in 2015.
The responses ranged from good health, successful jobs, new friends, back to good health. I was grateful for my daughter who inspires me. I was also grateful for this blessed moment in time when I was sharing Thanksgiving with these wonderful people who two hours before were complete strangers.
When family of origin is not available for whatever the reason, do not feel despair, make a new family. It is pretty cool when we can create a family of choice. Some of us have not really known a blood family that was there to hold our hand when we needed it the most. The longing for this family can create despair if we believe they are the only people who can give this to us.
I attended a workshop and the speaker was talking about holidays and depression. Some people experience depression because they don’t have a family and others experience depression because they do. He advised people who were flying home for the holidays to buy two sets of tickets. One for the planned 7 day visit and one for the emergency departure when the family drama becomes too much.
There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
So this Thanksgiving I was blessed to learn from Kathy how to do restorative yoga, Cameron’s wit was contagious, Paige was a delightful story teller, Mary and David were a married couple who made my heart happy to feel their love and Dain…….what can I say…..except thank you for sharing your warmth, humor and putting up with me calling you Dean.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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