Why Family is Everything

Why Family is Everything

You told us through social media what family means to you. Here’s one woman's take.


By: Katrina Simeck

As a child, I had a vision of how the holidays would be as an adult: They’d be boisterous events filled with crowds of all my family members. Babies would be crawling underfoot while the adults passed around homemade foods whose recipes were passed down from generation to generation. It would be the stuff that advertisements are made of.

Fade in to present day.

As a single mom with nearly grown kids, my holidays look quite different from those visions. Although the holidays aren’t filled with laughing babies and a mix of extended family members, I’ve tried my best to make sure my kids have learned a few lessons about family.

1. Family Starts with Friendship
I am surrounded by an entire tribe of supportive friends. They show up with cupcakes and casseroles. They cheer for me and comfort me. My kids are their kids. It’s said that blood is thicker than water. I disagree.

My friends are the family that I have chosen. That’s thick enough for me.

2. Family Means Love
Love means ignoring the pile of dishes in the sink and the dust bunnies that have taken up residence behind the couch. Love means always showing up with a plate of cookies, even if I said not to bring anything at all. Love means celebrating wins, and holding my hand through loss.

You don’t have to have the same last name to do all of that for someone.

3. Family Traditions are Important
Our holiday traditions are simple — we read the same book every year. We have breakfast casserole in the morning. And we view everyday traditions as sacred.

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We sit down to dinner without distraction — with real plates and cloth napkins — even on a Tuesday. We call each other the same nicknames that we were given years ago. It’s the little things we’ve done over and over that my kids remember the most, not necessarily the big trips or expensive gifts.

4. Take Time to Take Care of Yourself
This one is super important to all of us. We recognize we’re stronger as a group when we develop as strong individuals. We’re fiercely loyal to the activities that bring us joy.

For me, that’s time spent reading or walking by the lake. For my daughter, it’s watching old movies and having tea with her best friend. My son finds his happiness on the side of a snow-covered mountain. No matter where or what we do, growing into well-rounded adults can do nothing but strengthen the bonds in a family.

5. Family Survives Distance
As I write this, my daughter is living at university in another country. I’m on one coast for business. My son is holding down the fort on the other coast. We check in via text, email, phone and video chats. We make the most of technology — sharing through social media so we can see adventures through the other’s eyes.

Keeping our family close when we’re miles apart takes a bit of extra effort. It’s worth every bit.

The truths about family that we hold dear might be a little too long to cross-stitch on a pillow, but they’re the truths we hold dear. We start and end with our family of three. We’re committed to enjoying the journey, laughing a lot along the way. As my kids would say . . . our family “rocks.”

Maybe that can go on a pillow.

Be sure to keep following our Your Story series on the things that matter most to you.


Katrina is a single working mom on a quest to find a balance (or at least a little bit of Zen) between work and play. By day, she's in business development for a cosmetics company; by night, she channels her creative energy into writing, crafting and photography. Find her writing at
Figuring Out 40 . She also drinks a lot of coffee.

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