The Importance of Family

The Importance of Family

Christmas is a time for family.  What does your family mean to you? Can you put a value on it?  Do you put them above anything else and where do you draw the line in terms of loyalty and commitment?  After all we all have a breaking point.

I have always been proud of wearing my familial closeness firmly on my sleeve.  I frequently advocate the need to talk and am proud of an open communication with my teens that has been born of a habit from my own relationship with my parents.

Sometimes, however, there is a line that is crossed and it’s tough to stay true to those values of appreciation of familial closeness that come naturally from simply being a mother, father, daughter, son, sister or brother.

I recently followed a young man who was having a conversation on his phone with a person who transpired to be his brother.  The brother had had an argument with their parents and the young man I was following was simultaneously apologising for not being in touch, while reassuring his brother that his lack of contact was not because he was taking sides and that whatever the outcome of his brother’s argument with said parents he was there for him.

A familiar scenario to everyone the world over no doubt and one that of course sparked from me a few smiles, nods of recognition and much more.

I have talked a lot on my blog about the value of my friendships both off and online but have only ever touched on my family with fleeting references.

Who is my family?  Well ours is a blended family comprising my husband and teens.  My eldest, my son from my first marriage and my youngest, my daughter from my current marriage.  Then there are my parents and my sister.

My parents are a strong influence in my life.  They are old school, of the generation that met in their teens, married and had my sister and I  in their twenties, are now close to their diamond wedding anniversary and still youthful in their 70’s.  A situation that many of us can now probably only wonder at, yet alone aspire to.

My mother comes from a large family and has 11 siblings which means I have more cousins and half cousins than I can count and sadly many that I have lost contact with.  My childhood was filled with family gatherings, the details of which I still smile at even now.  There was a party for everything.  My grandparents always the matriarchs to be revered and admired.

Like all families there have been on a polite level, differences of opinion and on a base level, blazing arguments aplenty, but the value of familial ties has always remained strong.

Life takes over of course and those bonds dissipate due to different circumstances or location and family gatherings are less frequent with funerals becoming the more dominant connective, filled with promises of keeping in touch that of course never happen.

Blood is thicker than water is a well-worn expression but one that stays true whatever generation or family make-up we fall into and while it is not always possible to replicate those halcyon moments of our own youth,  I was warmed by something my father said about my own teens that reassured me that family comes first.

At a recent family dinner he noted the affection and support between my teens.  Apart now because of my eldest being at university, he noticed their natural inclination to each other when reunited, their adherence to each other’s words, their hugs, their shared jokes and laughter, their mutual support of each other’s dreams and anxieties.

Any parent will know how valuable it is to receive praise about their children and their behaviour as they grow up.  As a parent of a teen, however, your fear is that as they spread their wings they will forget the value of the family ties you tried so hard to instill and my father’s observance of these very simple acts filled me with hope for the future of my family, with or without me.

The Importance of Family



  1. December 28, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    Interesting to hear a bit about your own famiy life Jo. My siblings and I are very close, we very rarely squabble as adults although we did lot as kids! My kids squabble now so much but they also have great fun together and a good bond which I hope lasts into adulthood. #tweensteensbeyond
    Liberty Henwick recently posted…Tried and Tested December Product ReviewMy Profile

    • Jo
      December 30, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      Liberty I don’t think it is normal not to squabble to be honest and am always a bit suspect of those that say they don’t – as long as there is always a hug at the end of it what more could we want? Hope you all have a fabulous New Year and look forward to hearing more stories from your side of the water in 2019. X

  2. December 28, 2018 / 10:47 am

    It’s great to hear about the bond between your teens Jo. My one wish is that my three girls will continue to be close as they get older. I have heard of many families, particularly those where there are three daughters, where this has not been the case and it breaks my heart but I know there is only so much we can do. Families are very complicated and personalities do not always align. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. xx #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      December 30, 2018 / 9:34 pm

      The most important thing Sharon is that where there is a difference of opinion the rift is mended and I think that tends to happen a lot quicker where the familial bond is already strong. I am sure your girls will continue to be the tight unit that you have portrayed so far. Wishing you and all a Happy New Year. X

  3. December 21, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    How lovely that your teens are so close! I feel like mine hate each other most of the time and it’s a genuine fear that when they get older, they will just give up on each other because I think that’s sad. My eldest is quite difficult to be around so doesn’t seem to forge any particular bonds with any of us tbh and that makes it a bit difficult. I hope and pray that as they grow up that they will find some common ground. How special too that your dad noticed. My family sounds very much like yours – traditional and quite old school. xx

    • Jo
      December 30, 2018 / 9:38 pm

      There are a variety of differences of opinion along the way but fundamentally I think we are a strong unit. As a parent there is only so much you can do to encourage the bond between your kids, there has to be more than just the family ties to bring them together but by encouraging the appreciation of familial support and unity I hope that they will realise and value it well beyond our time. Families are strange old beasts though for sure. Wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year Suzanne. X

  4. December 18, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    Family means a lot- my husband has a large family. His mom is one if 9. My family is smaller but we are close- my mom and I talk daily.

    • Jo
      December 30, 2018 / 9:40 pm

      That sounds lovely Wrae – I don’t think you can go wrong if you have a close relationship with your mother and daily chats are a lovely part of that. Thanks for reading and joining us again. X

  5. December 13, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    My husband’s grandpa is one of 9 brothers. Needless to say, even my husband doesn’t know how many cousins he has anymore! I’m lost at his family reunions.

    My oldest is 15 and I do wonder where life will take him soon enough. I hope it’s not too far away, so I can see him more than my own parents half a country away see me.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Katy recently posted…What to Give Teens for the HolidaysMy Profile

    • Jo
      December 30, 2018 / 9:43 pm

      It’s interesting how many people have large families – definitely a generational thing as there seem to few of those around nowadays. Distance does not make it hard to keep up with everyone and although my parents live only 4 hours away it is tough when you have children and their various commitments to manage to keep on top of it all and fit in regular visits which is why the long holidays are so precious in terms of making up for lost time. Wishing you a fabulous New Year Katy. X

  6. December 12, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    Interesting read. I’m from a small family, and have had my own small family. I used to really crave the big extended family Christmases I thought everyone else had but when you hear or read about the pressures inside some families you realise there are pros and cons – as with everything. I haven’t always prioritised family at this time of year – but now I’m just grateful that at 91 my mum will be here to join for Christmas again this year, as modest as our celebrations will be. #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      January 6, 2019 / 6:19 pm

      Every family is different and to me at least provide an endless source of fascination in terms of how they behave and interact. It is wonderful that your mother is still going strong at 91, what an achievement and wonderful that you can still continue to build precious memories.

  7. December 6, 2018 / 5:23 am

    Loved reading about your family, Jo and about the relationship between your teens. Family to me is paramount. I have a teen and a tween and I wonder how their relationship will be once the elder son takes off to University. I am a part of a close-knit family, have an elder sister and a younger brother and we are thick. My mum passed away when I had just gotten married which left a huge vacuum. But dad is our pillar of strength. I don’t have too many relatives besides my immediate family that I am close to. But I hope that my kids are there for each other always. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      January 6, 2019 / 6:24 pm

      Growing up with such a big family network really instilled in me from an early age the importance of family ties and I have always tried to continue to adhere to that. It does have its downsides as sometimes closeness can verge on interference which is born from a family habit of open communication and sharing but I would rather that than the distance I witness in some families. It is wonderful that you have such a tight unit and that your father plays such a pivotal role. Thanks for your comment Rachna – always very much appreciated. #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. December 5, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    I love that there are families like mine! Huge, crazy, loving. My childhood was filled with Nannie carrying the black sack at`Christmas to give presents to all us grandchildren, family stories about grandad in the war, Mum crazily cooking and Dad generally playing games. There were wedding where we ask -‘who’s your nan?’ As there are so many stepchildren/half sisters and half brothers of half sisters! Now that we all have our own children, there are still family parties with, until only a few years ago, Nannie propped up in the corner. Family is tricky at times and bloody noisy at others but I wouldn’t change it for ithe world. Happy Christmas Jo. It sounds like you have so much to be thankful for. Xx #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      January 6, 2019 / 6:27 pm

      Oh Sophie you have painted the perfect picture of the wonderful madness that comes from a big family. It could so easily be mine that you are describing. Ours are a lot quieter than those I remember from my own childhood but still fabulous and fun filled nonetheless. I hope you had a great time with your family and wishing you a healthy and happy New Year.

  9. December 5, 2018 / 7:34 am

    My mother is spending Christmas with us this year. I’ve no idea what my children are doing though, they rarely travel out for this holiday as the cost is so high at this time of year and we have no desire to return to the UK at this time as the kids are spread out everywhere anyway and have wives, girlfriends and their families. Christmas in the past when the kids were small was spent with friends as the kids would always go to the other parent for the actual day #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      January 6, 2019 / 6:30 pm

      I hope you had a wonderful relaxing and peaceful time Suzanne. There is certainly something to be said for smaller gatherings at Christmas.

  10. December 4, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    … still a great read! Coming at ya from #ItsOK

    • December 4, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Sorry … #TweensTeensBeyond that should have been. That’s what I get from trying to do both at the same time. Sorry Jo

      • Jo
        December 5, 2018 / 12:40 pm

        Ha ha you are forgiven Enda – if you somewhat confused me as I started to wonder whether I had linked up elsewhere and forgotten all about it. It has been known! Thanks for reading it twice.

  11. Lieve Geysen
    December 1, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Loved reading this post about family! I’m sure you don’t have to worry and your father of course is right. I remember one of your previous blogposts about your daughter and clothes and being feminine. Your son stood by her and I thought that was brilliant and not at all obvious.
    My family means the world to me. My parents who I dearly loved have both passed away 22 and 8 years ago. I have one older brother and of course there can be arguments, but I think my love for him is unconditional as it is for my 3 children. They are now pretty close and I can only hope it will stay like that in the future. I guess all we can do is hope and try to be an example.

    • Jo
      December 4, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Oh thank you Lieve and I am touched that you remember an earlier post in which I talked about their relationship. I think I am perhaps more attuned to their behaviour towards each other as they are half-brother and sister (although I never say that out loud!). I think the expectation is that they won’t get on and I am always secretly chuffed when others comment on how well they do. My daughter has already started the countdown for him to return from university for Christmas. I hope you have a happy one celebrating with your family. I am looking forward to a less stressful one than last year! x

      • Lieve Geysen
        December 5, 2018 / 8:16 am

        Thank you! I hope you and your family can celebrate a wonderful Christmas with no stress at all! X

  12. November 21, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Very interesting snd thoughtful. I have a daughter and son, who is 17 months younger. They are very different and I am not sure our daughter has ever got over the trauma of his arrival. She was maybe too young. They do not share much or communicate, just some stuff around school and mutual acquaintances. We hope with all our hearts they will grow closer

    • Jo
      November 22, 2018 / 11:01 pm

      Parents are always the last to notice the closeness Enda and that is why I was touched by the observances of my father. It frequently takes someone else to point out the bloody obvious!

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