All in the family

Tonight we had dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's house. It was a chance to see Audrey, my new niece, but also just a chance to hang out with Adam and Annie. My other brother Steve and his wife Cait were also there.

It was fun and relaxing. We ate Cait's homemade mac'n'cheese. We played with Buddy the dog. We chatted. We took turns holding Audrey. Well, Steve didn't because he's still afraid he might break her.

On the way home Cory remarked that it was probably the first time that the six of us had all hung out together without my mom or because there's some family function."

And it's true. Both of my brothers are much younger than me--eight and 10 years respectively. I moved out of the house when they were still in grade school. For the most part we've always gotten along but we haven't been super close.

That's starting to change now. They both got married last year. Then Audrey was born in January. Which means in the last year or so there've been showers and dinners and ceremonies and hospital visits and more dinners and, well, just growing closer. And I'm really happy about it. I've long said that family is just what you make it--and before this was simply my way of saying that I'd really focused on making friends my family. I've always been pretty independent and I think that's friends-as-family has been a natural extension of that for me. This is not to say I've been estranged from my family--just that often I felt closer to my friends. Lately, however, I'm started to realize that the 'family is what you make it' ethos applies to those to whom you're related as well.

"It's good--I don't think we should just see all of them at the holidays," Cory said.

"And I know you don't want to just see Audrey at holidays."

No, no I don't. So here's to renewing bonds and little babies.



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