With growth comes a change in how we look both inside and out
Families are forever,” the saying goes. I suppose that’s right to a certain degree in that we don’t get to decide with whom we share certain aspects of our DNA. We are forever biologically connected to a specific and, perhaps thankfully, limited group of people based on the commonalities of our shared heritage. That doesn’t mean we have to like them, agree with them, or even associate with them. They are simply there. I have cousins I’ve not seen in many years and they each have children and grandchildren I’ve never met, but in the larger context of humanity, we are still, technically, family.
More important for our day-to-day existence is the family we create for ourselves. Here, we may include those of biological extraction, but it is their choice as to the desired level of participation and association. We may also include those who become family through other means such as romantic relationships and extended cohabitation. Kat’s little ones made the choice to call me Dad not through any means of coercion but because I was here to fulfill that role for them. Eight years doesn’t sound like a long time for us to have been together until I look back at the last set of pictures we took together and realize how small they seem then compared with the young people they are now.
Growth means making some adjustments. Hairstyles change to reflect personalities. Clothing changes according to personal identities. Mental health needs mean some don’t take new pictures at all for now. We’re still the same grouping of persons that we were with the previous photosets, we still identify as family, but none of us are the same. Our relationships have morphed with our needs. Just as our physical appearances have changed, so have our personalities, our habits and practices, our health, our desires, and our dreams.
What this collection of photos represents is where we are now. Or actually, where we were two and four weeks ago when the pictures were taken. Our lives have changed to such a degree that we couldn’t even manage to take everyone’s pictures on the same day. I’d have better luck getting all nine cats together for a group shot than I would the five of us. And yes, before you ask, one of us abstained from pictures for the time being. We’ll include them when they’re ready. Still, this is how families evolve. That old saying is incomplete. Families ARE forever. They’re forever in transition.