DiGiovanni Family Photo

front row: Vincent, Enzo, Sophia, Gianna
back row: Emily, Savannah, Brian (brother), Laura, Joshua, Chris (brother), Sue (mom), Len (dad), Jenny (sister), Todd, me, Mark (hubby)

…Family.  This shot was taken just a few days ago.  We’ve been talking about doing a family photo shoot for years now.  This was supposed to be outside, in a park full of beautiful Oak trees, with all the fall brilliant colors among us.  But it rained most of the day.  I was glued to weather.com, found a break in the rain, rescheduled the shoot.  But alas, weather.com was wrong.  Thanks to my resourceful sister and brother-in-law, they found this wine tasting room just a few minutes away, who graciously let us use their space for our hour long photo shoot!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and as I reflect upon being grateful for my family, a few things come to mind.  Like most families, we’ve been through our ups and downs.  But what I’m grateful for is that I can always count on that upswing after hard times.  We’ve experienced challenges that would threaten the survival of any family – starting when my siblings and I were very young with my parents divorce (they remarried five years later), to only a few years ago when I converted to another religion than what I was brought up with (kind of – at least in their eyes).  It really shook my family up, and at the time, none of us knew how to handle it, and most of us handled it poorly (myself included).

After surviving my parents divorce, my sister, brothers and I were very tight growing up.  And we took that bond with us through our years of moving out and eventually getting married and starting our own families.  I took for granted a loving family, because nothing really challenged it.  So, when we were faced with this trial a few years ago, it cut deeply.  Something as personal as spirituality and religion can evoke overwhelming and often uncontrolled emotions when challenged, or when you think a loved one is headed down the wrong path.  It was a bittersweet time for me – finding my own way – but feeling cut off and misunderstood from my family.  I felt so very alone.

After a couple of years the awkwardness seemed to dissipate – something I so yearned for and welcomed.  It’s still lonely sometimes, not being able to share a sacred part of my life with the ones I entered into a familial contract with before the earth was born.  But I also believe that I signed up for this experience, to become strong and resolute.  Our families, as difficult as they may be at times, are a vital part of our personal growth in our earth school.  They are our most sacred teachers – the ones we chose to learn from and grow with.

Today, I am thankful for a family that has found its way, the best we know how.  For choosing love over our righteous positions.  For choosing a relationship over hanging on to being right.  My husband taught me, that he’d rather be friends than be right.  I love that.  And I love him for teaching me.  If being right means having a wall between us, then I don’t want to be right.  I want to be with you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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~ Cousin Love ~