I recently have been thinking about what the meaning of family is. I know, I know, it seems pretty obvious, the ones who are related to you make up your family.
I feel though that there is so much more to family. I believe I have many families, not just the biological one or the one I married into.
For instance, when I get on Facebook, I have access to a large group pf people I have organized in what Facebook calls networks. What if indeed these were their own little family circles.
One of my networks is comprised of greyhound adoption folks. I can absolutely 100% tell you that most of these folks feel like family. I have cried with them when they lost a hound or got a devastating cancer diagnosis. I have rejoiced when they added one more to their pack. I have cried and gotten mad alongside these people when reading stories of abuse and missing greyhounds. Just like any family, we all pulled together in a crisis and helped raise money for severely neglected hounds in Texas.
Like any family, we have our disagreement and subjects we know to avoid if we do not want to start a fight. But all in all, we are one big, huge family.
One of my other networks is Best Buy. I have after all worked for this company going on three years now.
Granted I do not know every single Best Buy employee but somehow we are all linked in our passion of helping customers, living with technology and keeping this company great.
So last week a former employee's family went missing during a flight over Wyoming. I knew Ginger by name only. I knew she was friend with a lot of my friends but I had never personally met her. And yet, I felt as if she was part of my family. I had to send a request for prayers and good vibes hoping it could make a difference. Will I ever meet Ginger ? probably not. Does it matter ? not at all. She is a part of my friends' family and my Best Buy family so I will keep hoping for the best for her.
And what about that whole Six Degrees of Separation thing ?
Last week I got a request to become friends with someone. It turns out she appreciated some of the posts and comments I had made to another friend. She thought we had some things in common so now we were friends too. Then she posted a link she got from one of her friends about Male Breast Cancer. I am all about sharing that kind of information because I truly believe awareness and education are the best tools we have to fight diseases.
So I took that link and shared it. Now the friend of my new friend, the one who posted the original link, decides she want to be friends with me. So I do as always when I get a friend request...I check her out. And lo and behold, this woman who lives in Florida is originally from New Jersey. But not just from New Jersey, from very close to my husband's hometown in New Jersey. And as I talk to my husband about this he asks me her name. And then tells me that there was a family in his hometown with that name and they owned a little grocery store and he worked there as a teenager. So of course, I decide to ask her if she is related to this family. And yes she is.
So because I know Bonnie (who lives in Arizona) and posted to her wall, I became friend with Sandra (who lives in Florida) and then through Sandra I became friend with Kriss who despite living in Florida is really a Jersey girl who happens to be from a family that owned a store where my husband worked as a teenager...wow !
That is what you call a small world.
So now I may consider Sandra and Kriss part of my extended family. In fact, since Kriss sent me some stickers about Male Breast Cancer, I will proudly display them when I take part in the Making Stride Breast Cancer Walk. I will pass on this message that is so important to her. Because now she indeed is family :-)
I want to believe that somehow we are all truly one family, one humanity and that we are linked in more ways than we are different.
I can only hope that my family will keep growing and that I can be there for all the members of this family and maybe someday they can be there for me too if needed.
Right now, I can mostly think of Ginger and how scared she must be for her family, her husband and three kids missing and also the rest of her family that is affected by this crisis. So once again I ask the members of mine to keep her in mind as all of you are after all now related...through me.