We are Family

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The word “family” gets tossed around very casually these days.  How often have we heard someone referring to their “work family” or their “(insert name of hobby here) family”?  And what does that usually mean?  Just a group of people who you like and/ or spend a lot of time with.  Or, what we used to call “friends”. 

To me, family has always meant the literal sense- my spouse and the people that I share DNA with. While the people I share branches with on the family tree aren’t always my favorite people, they are the ones that I spend holidays with.  The ones that I celebrate weddings and births with.  The ones I grieve lost loved ones with. The ones who, no matter what, I’m always connected to by very real biological and historic bonds.

Last Friday night I was forced to expand my definition of “family”.

From the mid 90’s to early 2007 there was a small cellular company based in Mankato Minnesota named Midwest Wireless- they are now a part of Verizon.  I worked there from 2001 to 2006.  I have always talked very favorably about my time there.  I met my husband there.  I worked with an amazing group of fun, talented people there.  I learned a lot about myself, grew my self confidence, and learned job skills that I use to this day there.

Last Friday night we had a reunion.  It was clear from the second I walked into the room that this truly was a family reunion.  There were many hugs and laughs and even a few tears as people who in maybe hadn’t seen each other in 10 years reconnected.  There were awkward moments when people who didn’t see eye to eye “back in the day” came face to face again. There was retelling of old stories and telling a few new ones.  Most of all, there was a feeling of connectivity.  Of Belonging.  Of knowing that we were all part of something very special and being proud of it.  We were, and will always be, a family.

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