What is Family?

Two weeks ago, Noah and I celebrated 23 years of marriage, it is such a beautiful gift that we are enjoying spending time together and were able to celebrate with a date night.  A beautiful dinner with a beautiful view of the sunset thanks to Noah’s planning – a first for us with an anniversary in February that we were able to sit outside and enjoy the sunset.  

When we got engaged it was a joint decision based on the idea that together we would be a family just the two of us.  There was no talk of children and at that time we were so focused on the idea of an adventure to live abroad in the Czech Republic it overshadowed all other ideas. So we began our life together as a family in the Czech Republic.

One part of my role in our Estate Planning business is to listen to Noah explain to clients during a Family Wealth Planning session what the state of Florida’s plan is for their family if they have no documents.  I’ve listened to several of these now and am struck with how different each family is, and what family means to each person. Singled, married, divorced, with children without children, step-children, parents, step-parents, nieces, nephews, very close friends who feel like family although there is no blood or legal documents attached, cats, dogs and other pets – all of these have been discussed and each person views their connection to these relatives differently.  What family means to each of them is different.

What does family mean to me?  I have been thinking about this, and Noah and I talked about it on our beach walk this week. Who do I talk to? Who do I spend time with? Who do I celebrate with? Who do I mourn with? Who do I share DNA with? Who do I share a name with? Who do I share history and traditions with?  Who do I love? These are the things I think about when I think about family.

Because of the work we are doing I get to spend time thinking about family a lot.  I talk to people about family every day, I share our story of why we have moved to Miami, I share about Noah and I working together as husband and wife.  I share about our children, my parents, my siblings, our nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. I talk about my brother in law Jeff building our website and how amazing that experience has been.   I talk about being named for my 98 year old grandmother who lived as a child here in Coral Gables. I think about all of the friends who are so dear to us that they feel like family. Family, it is such a simple word yet so different for each of us. Now that I listen to others talk about their families, I’m aware that it is a word that we each interpret very differently.

What is family to you?