A few weeks ago I flew to Geneva to spend the holidays with part of my family. I had so much fun. Spending Christmas with them reminded me of all the things I love about having such a big and diverse family. We share laughter, tears and sometimes fight with one another, but in the end, we always stay connected. We live in different places around the world and get together a few times a year. There is no doubt that growing up in a big family has impacted my life in many different ways. I learned a lot about myself and others, and I mastered the art of adapting to different people and uncomfortable situations from a very young age. While there are countless reasons why I will always be grateful for my family, the following five sum them up.
1. Our Song
When we were kids, we had a song with all our first names in it, from the oldest to the youngest. We used to sing that song to make sure none of us was left out or forgotten whenever we had to split and share things among ourselves or when going out. Every time my mom had a baby, we added a new name to the song. When my oldest sister passed away, we had to remove her name from the song. As the years went by so many names were removed from our song as we all grew up and eventually had to leave the family home. Sometimes I sing the original song with all our names in it: Bijoux, Aude, Chantal, Maguy, Sandrine, Guy-Marcel, Reine, Aristide, Fanny, Poupina, Lionel, Alexandra.
2. Our Similarities
As much as I think my family members are all different, we are inevitably the same in a lot of ways. They have a way of understanding me like no one else. They are the ones who know everything about me and accept me for who I am. Our similarities and shared memories make it easier for me to be me. Being in contact with people from different places and nationalities on a daily basis means I often have to temper myself to create less friction with others, but when I am with my family I know I can be myself.
3. Our differences
Our differences are what make us unique and having relatives ranging from newborns to adults meant there was always someone there to assist you with anything, help you with homework or give you the best advice. Each one of us has his/her story, character, strengths and weaknesses. We all have a unique voice, vision, and gift and I love that we can share it with one another.
4. Built-in friends
Having a big family means you have a group of people who love you unconditionally and share memories, laughter, experiences and special occasions with you without even trying. My siblings are my friends forever.
5. Our Family gatherings
Our family gatherings are always a party with plenty of food, laughter, love, and stories to share. We live in different places around the world, and it is always fun to travel to different locations to see one another.
People may come and go, but my family stays with me forever.