*Way back in T-pisode 187 I wrote about the word forgiveness followed by T-pisode 205 where I defined my version of the word success. Two of the most difficult T-pisodes I ever forced myself to write but felt I had to share. A lot of people want to know more about my opinions on life and how I see things the way I do and the reasons behind it all. So I’m obliging. For the next 10 Mondays 2/17/14-4/21/14 I am going to write about a particular word and show the world how I define it. Something different but I hope you take something away from it all. Enjoy.
I’m Italian, so obviously I have a large family. My cousins have cousins who have cousins. That’s just the way it is. My immediate family by blood? That’s me, my mother, my father and my sister. My father doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. My mother has a brother and one sister who passed away. Both my aunt and uncle had 3 girls each. Those 6 girls are my only first cousins and each of them had kids who now have kids who are having kids. Like I said, tons of cousins. As a kid I used to see all my family members a lot. Especially during holidays, birthdays, weddings, summers in East Boston and of course on Sundays. Sunday is the day invented for Italian families. We won Sunday. Over the years however, older family members passed away and a lot of us grew and moved apart. That’s life. Our only link now is funerals and mostly being Facebook friends. That’s right. Blood relatives, who I grew up with, ate with, played with, fought with, laughed with and cried with are now just Facebook friends. Take away the blood relation and the fact that you never see each other does that still make you family? Today I’m redefining the word family.
If you’re my friend then you’re my family. I’m not married and I don’t have kids yet but if you are a part of my everyday world then I consider you family. There isn’t anything I won’t do for you. I’ll have your back. I’ll make you laugh. I’ll let my guard down and let you know every side of me. And you’re definitely doing the same because we’re family. I was in your wedding. I hug & kiss your kids. We toast champagne at your birthday. We watch the game at your house. We cook out in your yard. We argue like family. We love like family. My family knows everything about me and they put up with me whether I’m being awesome or a pain in the ass regardless of our last name, skin color, heritage or bloodline. They don’t judge me. I don’t judge them. They know and support my goals and I do the same for them. Of course I lean on my cousin, his wife, my sister, my bro-in-law and my oldest Eastie buddy the most when I need a support system. Then I spoil the hell out of all 6 of my nieces & nephews when I need to be Uncle. I’ll even hop on a plane to California to spend time with friends who I call my “West Coast Fam” when I need a break from Boston. They’re all my family. The same people I text crazy jokes and offensive internet memes to about a dozen times a day just to see their “lols” and “You’re crazy” are friends who I consider family too. I can go weeks, months without seeing them but those texts let them know that I love them and think about them all the time. You see YOUR family. You talk to YOUR family. You show YOUR family you’re there thinking about them even when they can’t see you. Family isn’t a Facebook comment. Family isn’t when you invite your relatives out and they don’t show. Because they don’t care. They may have forgotten what family means or they have a different definition of it. I may try to remind you once or twice that we’re family or used to be family but my REAL family needs me and my time is precious. Those people know who they are and I know what I mean to them. Remember, it’s not always blood that makes you related. Sometimes it’s who you love that makes you related.
If friends are family then everyone else I know are just acquaintances. Blood relative or not. Someone I knew in grade school. Someone I worked with in the past. That girl I took one class with in college. People I have done business with. Hollywood movie execs who read my material. Boston networking, superstar wannabes that I see out and about all the time working the scene. The dude I dirty box with at the gym. My dry cleaner. I know everyone. I have respect for a lot of people on the outer circle of my life. My network is large and I’m willing to help anyone out. But let’s be clear, they are not my friends. Maybe some will be one day but not today. Even some people who are related to me and friends I once considered family are no longer my family. Over the years people change. That’s a given. Some change for the better and some change for the worse. Some don’t even change at all so you have to move on. At the end of the day just know who your family is and let them know it too. Because we all need our family and we’re nothing without them.
Until next time. Always take it there.