I don’t know if all parents discover children’s music, but thanks to Nick Jr., I’ve been introduced to the (IMO) genius of Laurie Berkner.  Not only does Little Man absolutely adore her music (he “dances” to “I’m Gonna Catch You” and “Five Days Old”) but so do I.  And my favorite song is “My Family” even though I often feel pangs of regret when sisters and brothers are mentioned. But overall the song is wonderful, and the line I bolded resonates.

F-A-M-I-L-Y
F-A-M-I-L-Y
F-A-M-I-L-Y
Family!

When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family,
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family,
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family!
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Cousins, friends, sons and daughters,
Uncles, aunts, and grandparents
I’m so glad you’re my family!

Oh, I’m so glad you’re my family.
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family.

Even if you’re far away
or if I see your every day
when you’re in my heart to stay
You’re my family!

When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
When you’re in my heart, you’re in my family
When I’m in your heart, I’m in your family.
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
Cousins, friends, sons and daughters,
Uncles, aunts, and grandparents
I’m so glad you’re my family!

Oh, I’m so glad you’re my family.
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family
I’m so glad you’re my family.

F-A-M-I-L-Y
F-A-M-I-L-Y
F-A-M-I-L-Y
Family!
Oh, I’m so glad!

I have several friends who I consider to be my family, because we’re in each others’ hearts. And I am so grateful that by marrying Dude, I have a wonderfully supportive family. It’s like I have sisters, even though I don’t see one of them too often, and I never realized I wanted that.

My sister-in-law, S, lives only 6 miles away so I see her more often than my other SIL, C.  Because of that geographic closeness, I know her better and I think she knows me better too. She is such a lovely woman.  S has helped me out by running to the store for me (when Little Man was a newborn) or fielded panicked phone calls. When Little Man was diagnosed with Torticollis and Brachycephaly, I had a breakdown and was home alone—she came right over.

My sister-in-law, C, is an awesome person, too.  I wish we lived closer and were able to see each other more often. When I initially tried breastfeeding Little Man, C was almost 9 months along with her fourth (my niece who is 6 weeks younger than Little Man) and she went above and beyond the call of duty (by demonstrating) when she tried to help me figure it out.  I was actually afraid of disappointing her when I decided to formula feed.  And C has such an easy manner with her children. They are kids so they have their moments, but overall they’re wonderfully well-behaved and I hope to learn from her example.

I’m less close to my brothers-in-law.  I have more in common (interest-wise) with S’s husband, J.  A love of cartoons and Muppets and other juvenile entertainment. And a shared fondness for the Baby Blues comic strip. But I feel awkward around Dude’s older brother (C’s husband), M.  It’s probably more me. But I feel stupid around him. I’m much more comfortable with C. So lately I’ve found myself trying not to talk to him. That’s wrong… I need to get over that. But I’m not sure how.

And I’ve mentioned that I adore my in-laws. They’re great.  And Dude’s aunt is such a generous woman, who is great with all her grand-nephews and nieces. So I’m lucky. I hit the in-law jackpot. Most people complain about theirs… but not me. Thank goodness!

As for my family, I have mixed emotions. I’ve mentioned my parents, who are wonderful. And my brother, who is complex. But my extended family is harder to discuss. I love most of them. I no longer have emotional ties to my one male cousin. But I never felt close to my female cousins due to the age difference—I’m 6, 8, 11 and 14 years older than they are.  Occasionally I am in touch, through Facebook, with my cousin’s on my dad’s side. But I seldom, if ever, hear from my cousins on my mom’s side. I’m not sure if I want that to change or not. I hate getting hurt and it’s easier to be distant than open myself up again to be rejected. And then I think I should be over these fears by now. I’m 40 years old… shouldn’t I be past this? But I guess not.

So my family is Dude’s and my friends. I’m so grateful that I have mended the one friendship that I almost permanently damaged and I’m doing my best to reconnect with friends that I have neglected due to motherhood and exhaustion. I hope they will accept my mea culpas, especially since they did that to me when their children were younger, but if not I will move on. I need to stop beating myself up for past mistakes. I really do.

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