I have never liked the phrase blood is thicker than water. It seems to indicate that families are only designated by blood. By biological means or by marriage.
I think that family is so much more than blood relatives.
Family means being a part of something bigger than yourself and caring about someone else more than you do yourself. It means, as Lilo said it, never leaving someone behind or forgetting them. Family is what you make it. This means that friends, blood relatives, colleagues at work, anyone can be family as long as a bond is forged.
Although I grew up an only child, I feel like I have two sisters. These women have been with me through all the ups and downs of my life. We have dealt with things that even our "families" weren't there for us for. We support one another and cherish our time together. Without them I wouldn't be an aunt. Without them I wouldn't feel complete.
Family means when someone moves on, either in a physical or spiritual sense, that they'll never be forgotten. When I moved away from my hometown for the first time, it would have been easy for my "sisters" and I to forget about each other. To not include each other in big life happenings. The opposite occurred. We might not have seen each other every day or talked every month, but we were connected. We thought about each other. We made time for each other.
Family is about building bridges.
Things happen. We get frustrated. Angry. Sad. And we feel so many other emotions. With family, we should always feel like we can home. That we have a safe space to vent. That we can get over the hurdles in life, the miscommunication, and the hurt. If you have people in your life who accept you for who you are and love you, they are your family. Never forget them either.
Family means being able to make mistakes and still being able to be there.
We should have fun with our family. We should love them. And, when they hurt us. We should forgive them. Especially if the intention wasn't to cause pain. Like when my dad spun me so fast on the merry-go-round that I flew off and hit a tree. Yup. That happened. It hurt. I still love him.
I lived over eleven hours away from my family for the first time four years ago. It was scary. I didn't get to go home for Thanksgiving. I was in a new job. I had to navigate everything on my own. But then something magical happened. I found people I could connect with. We shared meals together. Laughed together. We comforted each other when things were tough and provided advise when it was needed. They were my work family and some of them were so much more.
Family is what we make it.
I can't imagine my life without these people. The people I've met during my childhood and beyond. They are a part of who I am and they will continue to impact me as I grow. I think the best thing we can do in life is find social connections and a sense of belonging. Ohana means family.
Where is this for you? Where have you found your Ohana?