What is family?

I have been living here in the States for 11 years this Summer. I still cannot quite believe that I arrived in this country with a wee babe in my arms, full of excitement and wonder of where our journey would take us. These 10 years have been tough....I mean, really tough!
I am enormously blessed with the best husband ever and my children are my greatest joy, but there has always been something missing - family!
I think that in life, we take for granted what it means to have our loved ones within a reasonable distance, even a short plane ride away. For us, our large families are more than a day away, in a different time zone and what feels like a different world.
Sure,  it is great to be able to find that teeny tiny window of time to make that phone call....but most of the time, it just isn't enough. Sometimes it can be a physical pain to not be able to sit with your parents or sisters and brothers and share a cup of tea and a catch up.

I have started thinking lately about the meaning of family. I decided that I needed to create my own American family...the people that when you are around them, make you feel like you are enveloped in a big warm embrace of love, the people that your children love with all of their hearts, the people that will sit and patiently listen to everything you have to say, no matter how trivial or silly.

I cannot tell you how profoundly it affected Ruby when a special friend of ours asked to be her "American" godmother, she finally knew that feeling of family close by. Of course she has a loving Godmother and Aunties and Uncles and Grandparents half a world away, but to have someone near, that loves her like family was a pretty life changing moment for her.

Last week I took the children to a very dear friends home for an evening of pasta making.  I sat there watching her teach my children how to make pasta from scratch, never once getting frustrated, interested in their every word, encouraging them at every turn. I took note of how my children love and respect her, of how she sat patiently looking at Oliver's school project pictures and of the ease and comfort of being able to be myself around her.

When we sat to eat our delicious handmade feast, with the sun setting and the children filled with pride...I was hit with the sudden realization that I do have a family here.

I just need to look around me!