Celebrating chosen families

Mother's Day and Father's Day can be sweet and joyful holidays for some. It can also be a difficult one for those have lost or are estranged from their parents or parental figures.

I wanted to offer up a celebration of chosen families as an alternative or additional reason to celebrate this weekend, and share a bit about mine.

I'm lucky to have a big sister and a group of close friends that I've known since I was in my late teens and early 20s. They've watched and helped me grow up in many ways over the years. When I say they're family, this is what I mean:

They are the first ones I text when I have good news, whether it's everyday things like finding a pair of pants I like or big things like getting a book deal. They are the ones to remind me to stop and celebrate the big and little wins (and who plan the celebrations for me when I don't). 

We help each other navigate how to be adults. In between memes and everyday updates, our group chat is full of questions like, How do you pick an insurance plan? What does your budget look like? Does this happen in your relationships? Which job offer should I choose? How should I respond? Does someone have time to read over this email / resume / text / blog post / paper? ("Sure, send it over" is one of my all-time favorite expressions of love.)

The responses always come back warm and supportive, a mix of our own experiences, things we've read online or in a book, published researched papers (thank you to the academics in the group), and what our therapists said ("trickle-down therapy," we call it). We are doing the best we can, together.

We've been through our share of grief, loss, and trauma. But we're also sending heart-eyed emojis at every new outfit, plan, and win. We're showing up at each other's birthdays, graduations, weddings, and housewarmings—and often arriving early to help set up.

The matching holiday sweatshirts make it official: we're a family.
I don't have a significant relationship with either of my parents, and sometimes I get sad around holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day, and wonder how much easier things would have been if I'd had a different parental relationship. 
But then I think how lucky I am to be raised by this group of amazing, strong, loving women (and a few good men). I think that I've turned out better because of it, and I know that my life is more joyful because of them. 
I hope that you get in some rest and joy this weekend, whatever that looks like for you. 


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