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.

Editor's Note: What does your family mean to you ? I would love to hear from you as always. 


The Importance of Family



  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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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