August 20th, 2007


I’ve been musing and wondering – what makes family?

Kurt Vonnegut had this sense that family was by declaration. It is peculiar. And it is a true creation –

On Saturday (2 days from when I write this) my daughter gets married. She was married before (one reason I write this) and has decided to keep her married name. Why?

I did relish her former in-laws and, of course, they won’t be at the wedding, but they were real family for my granddaughter, who keeps their name. It will be different than her brothers’ (and/or sister’s) name. And I now have a whole new set of relatives joining my family.

Nancy ’s family is here for the wedding. Nearly 40 years ago her brother existed for me only as gossip – only as her stories about him. The rest of who’s here didn’t even exist. In fact his son started as a stepson who he adopted…so Ken’s daughter is even a further step removed from ‘family’. And I love them. We see and speak rarely, yet I love them.

Parts of my family I have lost – through death, through distance and through lack of communication.. Still love, but unused, gathering dust.

And new family is added – Steven will immediately be loved and accepted. So I would say creation + circumstance + communication + time seem to be the ingredients that form the glue of family.

Useful Quotes

The family is one of nature's masterpieces .
George Santayana

 Family life is full of major and minor crises -- the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce -- and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It's difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul.
Thomas Moore

 Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible -- the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir

 A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw

 The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have
Ring Lardner

Creative Corner

A Memory of Grandma

I was much too old to cry for her.
And it is only now that I can open my love for her
and missing her
and say goodnight.

My handwriting, at times, I fancy, is her
chicken scratching scrawl.
I see her almost random words
misspelled, foreign, self-taught
English in my mind.
­Writing I could always feel.

I felt a great achievement,
growing tall enough to kiss her
on the top of her always grey head.
head on top

And we always played
our tiny games of connectedness.
Passed on now to my children
and then to theirs.
Touch my nose; I'll kiss your hand.


I have four blogs:

Creating Today - A daily journal on creativity
Contributing Coaching - Creating New Futures
Blogging for the Reading - Making a Difference in how we Create
Michael's Articles - articles that don't fit anywhere else.

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