family is that feeling we have when we share the inside stuff and we feel accepted instead of judged

today i’m headed to minneapolis to see ‘family’.  pat and i have met in college, and have been best of friends for years.  the last time i’d traveled to minneapolis was for her wedding 28 years ago. and now her daughter is getting married.  wow!

the week leading up to the wedding is intense and we’ve been talking nearly everyday. there are a lot of details that seem to be out of your control the week before, where your daughter is handling things differently than you would were you to be the one making the decisions. pat’s had a lot of venting to do, and breathing.

when she told me that we were the only ‘family’ she had, that all the other guest s were friends and family from john’s side, i had a warm feeling fill me.

that feeling came from the heart. pat and i aren’t blood related. but she and i talk a lot even more than my blood sisters and i do. we’ve been there for each other when life got tough, and we’re there for each other in celebration of the good stuff too. she knows brian and all that he deals with, and all that i deal with. and i know all her stuff.

it’s the inside stuff that binds us. its when we can take off the mask, and let the ugly stuff out that we feel the closest to someone.  when we can share from the heart, when we know our friend is there to  listen and understand and isn’t going to tell me what i should or shouldn’t do unless i ask, or to judge me, its then that we connect.

family is really a feeling much bigger than a tree of branches of blood relations. it’s a feeling that runs deep within; family is more about the roots of the tree. it’s that part of the tree that people don’t see, yet it nourishes further growth and gives the tree a foundation that is about strength and courage. it’s a feeling of total acceptance of the good and the bad in each other. it’s a feeling of understanding through shared experience.

family is the feeling we have when we can face the truth, and have faith that we are here for each other.

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