Published on 15 May 2024 at 18:20

So, what does the word ‘family’ mean to you?


Two completely different sayings come to my mind regarding family:


“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Michael J. Fox.


“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” From ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee.


Fortunately for me the top saying is true, growing up I had a wonderful childhood with caring and loving parents. As I grew up and moved away to get married, I didn’t see my parents so often, and that was true as well about my brother. However, it was not that long before they also moved west and both my parents and my brother were again within easy travelling distance to visit.


I remember my parents talking about moving out to Spain to live, and they even stayed for three winter months less than three hours north of where I live now. However, they decided not to, and spent their retirement walking on Dartmoor and having our children to stay, whilst we went on holiday abroad, often to Spain.


As time passed my mother and, a few years later, my husband died, and life changed dramatically for my father and myself. He and I used to meet on a more regular basis, and we went on holiday together a few times.


Sadly, my father’s health started to deteriorate and he ended up in a home. I had by then decided that, as one’s health and lifespan could not be calculated, I was going to follow my dream and move to Spain. My children were, by now, grown up and able to fend for themselves. 


People often ask me if I miss my family but, I have to say that, these days, social media actually enables me to see more of my children and grandchildren’s daily lives and activities online! But it is even better when they come to visit.


Then I met John and three years ago married him. The family dynamics changed drastically then!


John, who had no children with his previous partners, has now become granddad Jonnie, and has been fully integrated into my family. On the other hand, I have gained countless cousins and, although I remain a Smith, due to the Spanish way of not taking your husband’s surname, I am nevertheless firmly entrenched in the Thatcher clan as well.


To add to that, my brother and his partner now live next door to us and the four of us are good friends.


So, you may not be able to choose your family but I have found, through the changing dynamics of my extended and close family, that many of them are friends too, and that makes it absolutely perfect, I think, don’t you?

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Sarah Smith
5 days ago

We all miss you lots but that means we can look forward to the next visit to see Nanny and Grandad xxx