This is my family of origin. I
am the oldest of
seven children. We are all grown and living
on our own (or with our significant others) in various parts of the
from left to right: Me, Joe, Jason and Nathan. Dad and Mom are seated
in the center and seated
in front (again left to right) are:
Annette, Patty and Rebekah. (Picture taken circa 2005. . .it is a bit
as we have grown up and gone our own ways my siblings and I remain in
touch as much as possible with our own families starting and growing.
The picture above was taken just before significant others were
officially added and little ones started coming. We don't always see
other very often given our busy schedules but we all know that we are
there for each other if there is ever any need.
Definition of Family
Family is many things: It
people you are genetically related to, the people you are legally
related to, the people you grow up with, and as you go through the
process of life family also
becomes those you choose to be committed to (legally or otherwise) and
the people who love you, support you, and walk through life with you.
And sometimes (or always for me) family includes more than just the
For example, my family of choice includes the three dogs my significant
other and I have:
(My example -using my family of origin)
My family would be considered somewhat separated and somewhat enmeshed.
Most of us are living on our own with our significant others and
maintain contact but are not daily involved with everyone else. My
brother Jay and I would probably be considered the separates or even a
little disengaged as we call or visit the others every couple of weeks
or so. My other siblings and my parents would be considered enmeshed as
constantly in contact with each other and extremely close to each
other and involved in each other's daily lives.
Adaptability: The type of
flexibility exhibited in my family leans very
much to the "chaotic" side. While I was growing up, our family would
have been considered more at the rigid end of the spectrum. However,
to children growing up and moving away and my father's health problems
(he was the rigid leader) my family has moved more to the chaotic side
of the spectrum. There are still some pretty binding rules (see
Metaphor below) but there is no clear organization or established
Metaphor: A great (if humorous)
description of my family would be "A
Three-Ring Circus". With so many of us there is always so much going on
in so many different directions. Due to the more chaotic nature of my
family, the lack of planning and organization means figuring out what
is going on in each of the different rings can be a circus ring in and
of itself! There is also a lot of laughter and fun going on most all
Boundaries: Our family has
fairly permeable boundaries as long as the
theme of "family first" is kept in mind. My mom has always welcomed
friends to be a part of anything anyone is doing and there are alway
extra 'family members' at most events.
Theme: The best description of
my family would be "Family First". This
is especially true for the members who remain tightly enmeshed, but for
all of us there is a sense of loyalty and responsibility to each other.
For those of us less enmeshed it might still be true as we use that
"Family First" focus toward our families of choice.