Mi Familia

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We all know there's the family you are born into and the family you create. Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to interact with some mighty fine folks. People that make me feel right at home no matter how many miles or years pass without seeing each other. Friends that I have traveled with, shared meals with, cried with, laughed with, sang with, debated with, shared stories and fears with, and even lived with. People that I consider my family. People that make me feel secure in who I am and whose company I genuinely enjoy. Sometimes they remind me of things I said or did that I had completely forgot. They take me despite my imperfections and even help me laugh at myself. These connections strengthen my entire soul and I feel happier when I get to interact with my family on a regular basis.

GH and I have lived in our new home for nearly a year and while there are some people I like and see once a week there hasn't been anyone in St. Louis I have felt a strong bond with. And honestly, I miss having a friend to go to movies with, or run off to the beach with, or ring up for a spontaneous weekend brunch. It's true that I have a great husband and I certainly don't discount him in my life, but there's something really important about having girlfriends close. Then again it could just be the reality of making friends as an adult. The reality that time constraints and other responsibilities make finding new friends in your mid 30s tough. That said, you can only imagine how elated I was to spend the last two weeks of July with my family.

Before we left for vacation I made a deliberate goal to capture people in my photographs, as opposed to food and vistas. Of course I ended up doing both, but looking back I'm so glad I have these pixel memories of people who mean the most to me. We drove from St. Louis to Salt Lake City, stopping in Colorado Springs to visit with GH's parents. Our time in Utah was divided between friends and family and I felt especially lucky to have so much one-on-one time with my nieces and nephews. After our time in Salt Lake we ventured north to Bear Lake, where we spent time with a group of friends from my time at Utah State University. For three nights we relaxed in this massive house, which fit our group of 20 adults and 25 kids with no problem. Each day I literally found myself feeling lighter. Happy and at ease. In addition to seeing old college chums, I squeezed in a few special lunch dates. And isn't being surrounded by familiar faces, feeling loved, and spending time with those whom you have a shared history what family is all about?

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