When you hear the word family, what picture pops into your head? Is it the Norman Rockwell version with Dad sitting at the head of the table, Mom bringing in food and 2.5 kids smiling at the dog begging for scraps. That may have been true 100 years ago but that is simply not what families look like today.
Approximately 46% of U.S. children are living in single parent homes while about 4% are in homes with no biological parent at all. These include grandparents, aunts, uncles or foster homes. With the increasing rates of drug deaths in the U.S. those numbers are sure to rise over the next decade.
Young people are less apt to stay in their home towns than they were a few decades ago. The ease of transportation and the availability of jobs mean people simply don’t stay in one place like they once did.
Family has become less about biology and more about choice. My family lives in a town with no family on either side for thousands of miles. We moved here for my husband’s job and have surrounded ourselves with coworkers, neighbors and others we have met along the way. We spend holidays and other “family” events with these people and you know what? We have just as much fun as if our families were here.
Do we miss our families? Of course we do. We make sure to carve out a couple of times a year for visits from both sides and the fact that we don’t see them every day make these visits all the more special. With advancement in technology we are able to talk whenever we want and video calling has been a life-saver if my husband has to be away. All of this means we are able to maintain connections and no one feels left out.
Yes family is important but biology/genetics should not define family. We define what family means to us.