I am from a giant picnic table suited to seat many from Dad’s own handiwork and hours in the workshop, building and planning, to ensure we were all able to have a nice sit-down meal together.
I am from the scary-looking yet comforting 175-year old farmhouse that was restored by my parents on the weekends when there was time between school functions and appointments.
I am from the rose bushes Mom wanted along the property line that she tended to daily, the small orchard that bore fruit, the garden from which we got our vegetables (and punishment of weeding when we misbehaved).
I am from advent calendars and candles on Christmas, homemade birthday cakes and presents, and learning to look past disabilities, both physical and mental, from siblings Becky, Carly, Peter, Kevin, John, Esmeralda, Jenny, Susie, Timmy, Matt, Dennis, Mark, Bart and David, to the numerous cousins, aunts and uncles we spent holidays with.
I am from the family of love, sharing, and tolerance, no matter the differences.
From being selfless and helping others before helping yourself, because their smile and word of thanks is reward enough.
I am from a spiritual family, but as an adult choose to worship in nature.
I'm from blended families, both birth and chosen.
From the drive to Chicago to greet my new brother in from South Korea, from waiting anxiously to hear the news that our new sister was born to another mother and father, to grieving together as our eldest brother succumbed to MD.
I am from two loving and selfless people who welcomed two boys into the world, then opened their doors to 13 other children who were not considered “adoptable” because of physical ailments, mental slowness, or emotional issues. Two people who brought these children together under one roof and taught us that we are indeed worthy of love, and of acceptance, and of understanding. Two people who reminded us that there are others in the world who need our help much more than we do.