Family Day: Who are the people that make up your "family"?

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When the average person thinks of the concept of “family,” they usually think of those people who are related to them by blood…genetics…and maybe a few close friends who may have the pleasure of taking on the pet name “Auntie” or “Uncle,” but they aren’t technically related.

That’s probably how our family story would have unfolded, had we not had our preterm birth experiences. Prior to our twins arriving, my idea of the term “family” included direct relatives and lifelong friends. My, how that concept changed when our twins arrived! Suddenly we had dozens of new people a part of our lives, providing support, advice or a listening ear. Little did we know how much impact these people would have on our lives and that we’d return to somewhat of a “family reunion” whenever we entered the hospital for medical follow-ups, of which there have been many!

We’ve also had occupational therapists, speech therapists and physiotherapists who have known our twins since the month they came home from the hospital. They have seen them grow and provided so much support, dedication and sheer determination to help us get these little men off on the right foot in life. These special people in our lives have laughed with us, become exasperated and pulled their hair out with us, questioned with us, hypothesized with us, tried with us and definitely persevered with us and all in the name of our little guys. And of course, they have succeeded with us every step of the way.

Many of our support team of medical and developmental specialists are definitely as close to us as family. They will always have a special place in our hearts.

So today, designated as Family Day, I got to hang out with my family–my hubby and three amazing boys, oh and an actual blood relative–an uncle and I also thought of all the other amazing people that I truly feel are a part of our “family.” Life would have been very different if we had never met these amazing people who dedicate their lives to other families.

Happy Family Day 2013!

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Carolyn - Twintrospectives

Carolyn is the full time working, volunteering, keeping active, Canadian mom of 5 year old twin boys and a 7 year old boy. Carolyn was introduced to the world of parenting in a rush, with the sudden arrival of her 31 weeker firstborn. Two years later, her twin boys thought they’d show up their older brother and showed their little faces at 27 weeks and in just as much of a hurry as their big brother! In just shy of two years Carolyn experienced the NICU twice for three little ones. The biggest lesson she took away from their NICU experiences was a lesson in patience. Carolyn learned to slow down, breathe and focus on the things that mattered; her little boys, her husband, her family. Although her twins experienced many hurdles while working their way through the NICU and she took them to close to two hundred appointments in that first year, Carolyn took time to reach out to the “preemie” community, which spans the globe. The unusual experience of having preemies and multiples has opened up all kinds of unique opportunities Carolyn never knew existed until she started her family. Carolyn has joined organizations promoting premature birth awareness, multiple-births awareness, chairs Multiple Births Canada’s Preterm Birth Support Network, writes a monthly newsletter for the Network, blogs and guest blogs, all in the name of NICU, preterm birth and multiple birth awareness. You can check out her blog at Twintrospectives.

3 thoughts on “Family Day: Who are the people that make up your "family"?”

  1. Our nanny here in Chengdu is part of our family. Today when my 3 year old son was building a block house he said his sister, mama, papa, and ayi (what the kids call their nanny here in china) live there.

  2. I’ve redefined “family” to mean the people we can depend on, and those who can depend on us. Unfortunately, the people in our traditional family are not, for the most part, part of our support network. The people we have instead, though, are many, and enrich our lives in ways I could never have imagined: teachers, coworkers, neighbours, friends. The staff at our pediatricians’ office especially stand out as professionals who have become family, as have the staff at the daycare centre my girls attended as infants and pre-schoolers. I bought my house on the recommendation of their infant class teacher; she told me that the local public school would be a perfect fit for them, and she was right!

  3. We redefined family also. My twins have more grandmothers than we have mothers, and more aunts and uncles than we have siblings. With both my husband and I being adopted, we know that genetic relationships mean very little compared to surrounding ourselves with people that we love and in turn love us.

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