We’ve nearly reached the end of the school year.
For me and many others, it’s really been a strenuous, yet ebullient, year packed with a plethora of new experiences. From the intense and interesting courses we’ve taken to the unique and upstanding people we’ve met, it’s been a year marked by monumental changes. However, I think that one of the most significant changes for many of us has been living on our own, away from our families.
Although it’s been difficult at times, living away from home has really made me appreciate the unparalleled and incorruptible love that binds families together. Like the finest bottles of wine, this kind of love gets better with the passing of time and the accompanying memories. From when we blissfully romped with our siblings in the backyard clad in our denim overalls, to when our parents proudly rejoiced as we triumphantly stood upon our graduation stage or to when we met once again over Christmas dinner after a bittersweet goodbye in the fall, the love that we share with our families has never ceased to thrive and grow.
One of the things that makes the love shared between family so special is that it is not necessarily defined by constant communication or regular face-to-face conversation, but by an often unspoken yet unequivocal appreciation for each other’s existence.
Family is not limited by blood, but instead encompasses all those in our lives who accept us for who we are and lift us up with their unwavering loyalty and endless encouragement.
For as long as I can remember, my parents, my brother and I have spent every summer at our cottage in Ontario, which we share with our extended family. Despite not seeing each other or speaking very much throughout the year, we’re always able to seamlessly come together with our cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents as if we have never been apart at all. Like the many late night bonfires at the cottage, this love that we share burns brightly and continues to do so long after we’ve gone our separate ways and the summer has reached its end.
I also believe that family is not limited by blood, but instead encompasses all those in our lives who accept us for who we are and lift us up with their unwavering loyalty and endless encouragement. They’re the people who have patiently sacrificed time out of their lives to help us improve ours whenever we’ve felt lost or out of control. They’re the people we don’t necessarily speak to or interact with on a regular basis but who are always there to be a friend to laugh with or a shoulder to cry on. These individuals aren’t just friends; they’re family that we’ve had the pleasure of discovering on our own.
When we’re a part of a family, we’re a part of an interconnected web of unconditional love. If a family member reaches new heights of success, we feel their jubilation as powerfully as if it were our own. If a family member stumbles and loses their way, we experience the full intensity of their pain and do whatever we can to ease it.
In a world that can seem so strange and lonely at times, it’s comforting to know that we’ll always have a limitless arsenal of affection and a deep supply of support.
A family, though, is continually blossoming and reinventing itself like the passing of the seasons. Eventually, our relationships will slowly transform and adapt as we age and branch off to go build our own futures. We may end up living thousands of miles away from the friends and family that we once saw every day. Some of us might even go and fill new roles as somebody’s mother or father and begin sacrificing our todays for our own children’s tomorrows. But despite all these modifications, growths and new beginnings, the same unconditional love that originally tied us together will always remain intact if nurtured.
We’re going to be doing a lot of exciting and extensive work in the next few years, but I think that the greatest and most important work that we’ll ever do is making sure we never lose sight of the connections we have with our families and all the people we love. Find a way to make those visits. Take those calls. Continue to be there for them like they’ve always been there for you. Remember, no amount of praise, wealth or success can ever compare to a deeply rooted love that is given to us without any expectation of repayment at all. Our family is the greatest asset we will ever possess and it should neither be forgotten nor taken for granted.