Where life begins and love never ends

A sponsored post for Bupa

There’s no denying the fact that I come from a big family. And not just a big family, but a close one. Bloody Catholic breeders that we are, there’s a gazillion of us on both sides of my Mum and Dad’s families, with close to 20 first cousins and then you can imagine how many extras from there. Aunties, Uncles, cousins, Grandparents, a big team of people, was all I knew growing up.

Hot Christmas days filled eating and laughing, exchanging gifts. Holidays away with cousins and their friends, Aunties and Uncles drinking too much with my parents, dance offs. All my best memories from my own childhood ALWAYS include this team of family: our own immediate one and of course the extended one on both sides.

And not much has changed.

Same, same, just different people.

We’re now the loud Aunties and Uncles that sing badly and stay up too late, too loudly while the kids try to go to sleep. I’m that cranky Aunty that takes extra nieces and nephews away on School holidays and sometimes yells at the kids when they make too much noise, or mess, usually both.

I love the bonds that our girls have with all their Aunties and Uncles, cousins, Great Aunties and Uncles, GREAT GREAT Aunties, Grandparents and second cousins that are a huge part of their lives; as the team stretches into the next generation.

We travel overseas together, we go on holidays together, it’s such an important thing to both Rob and I that we make sure we encourage and nourish these special bonds.

To me, my team is everything. It’s where life starts, and where never ending love and acceptance is given your entire life. There’s NOTHING like it.

I also think that families can help us understand our wider society on a micro scale. That we are all different. That while we might think differently about certain things or people, we have to listen, be respectful of those differences and open to learn and love in different ways. It helps us love beyond our own age group and peers, to help smaller ones and be helpful and respectful to older ones. It reminds us that while we are all individuals, when we are part of a family we are a team.

As for the arrival of Miss Maggie into our immediate family? Well, the gift of her being born has given our big girls especially, so much that I never even really considered.

While Daisy and Harper were already part of our family, and of course aware of what that means for us, the arrival of Maggie has meant that they have all had to step up. To be uncomfortable and do things that you might not want to do, but you need to do because you are part of our team.

I never even really considered this when we thought about having another child. They have had to bath, feed, walk, hold, teach, entertain, play, cuddle, settle, reassure and love and of course bask in the unconditional love and their baby sister has for them. It’s all small moments, but they are the ones that seem to matter the most.

It’s given them so much more than I ever thought it would. It’s reminded them that while they are themselves, with their own needs and ambitions that together as a team, we are all something so much more.

A family. All of us here now. All complete. It’s such a wonderful feeling.

Bupa want to celebrate the importance of your team family, and how the small moments we spend together can be the most memorable and the most precious. I’m excited to share this message with you guys over the next few months, as it’s something that is so important to me, and something I feel very passionately about.

You can check out the details of the Team Family initiative here.

And now, as we are about to embark on the ULTIMATE team family Christmas together: MY entire immediate family and their kids all together on holidays for a week (all 19 of us), I know that despite the eye rolls and annoyances and small moments, that eventually we will all look back on this time together as the most precious of all. The big 14 year old cousins playing with the 2 year olds. The pregnant Aunty who hopefully gets to put her feet up and rubbed by the 60 something year old Grandmother. Another reminder that while individually we are all great people, together as a team, we are something so much bigger and more important than ourselves.

Are you part of a big or small family?
A close family or family that is spread out all over the world?
What does family mean to YOU?

Comments

  1. We were four kids growing up but the two youngest have died before they reached fifty. It cut a huge swathe thru the family and now we are distant from each other. However, I have created a family here in northern California, far from any blood relatives, yet even more precious because the bonds are freely granted and renewed. I take care of babies and most of them have become members of my family as have their sibs and parents. It makes a wide, loving, diverse family that I cherish more with every passing year.

    Happy Holidays to all of you and may the new year bring loads more LOVE !~!

  2. Ahhhh family, nothing beats it, I agree – and that whole cousins, aunties, uncles, Greats, is just amazing and so many families don’t seem to have it now! Just one note – I’m not Catholic 😉 (but have been asked that question my whole life! LOL) – I am one of 8, 5 sisters, 2 brothers, we are spread out over 20 years so now have Grands that are younger than Great Grands and it gets complicated. One brother lives in Perth (we’re near Wellington, NZ) – the rest of us don’t live more than 2 hrs drive away, my parents and 4 of my sisters all live locally … plus a couple of nieces and their children. We don’t live in each others pockets, but we’re close, if there is a crisis – we’re there. My husband and I have 5 – aged from 25 to 15, and that closeness with the oldest and youngest and relationships in between, its amazing and so many good life lessons along the way. Yeah, big families – hard at times, but so so precious and important!

  3. I absolutely loved this post. My childhood was rather fractured but the family bonds you described are what I’m building for our daughters. We’re heading to QLD on Sunday to stay with family, stepping off the plane & straight into helping cook lunch for 18 adults & 3 kids ??? Have a great family holiday x

  4. Enjoy your large family Christmas – it sounds fabulous! We are a small family through migration and losing siblings far too young. It saddens me that our children have only got 2 cousins (on the other side of the world) and are not likely to have more. We just have to love and spoil them in lieu of the spoiling that they are missing from an extended family! 🙂

    Have a very merry Christmas

  5. Whitney Sigler says

    Big family and we are still very close, there’s four in my family and 4 first cousins that were always there. Ken has a family of 6 he has four sisters and a brother. My dad was the oldest of 15 my father-in-law was the oldest of 13. Tomorrow we have Christmas here at our house and there will be our three children their spouses and all five grandchildren. My sister and her husband and a couple other people thrown in. Our kids still tell us they love us and kiss goodnight eben now. Even though they are grown we are very close. We talk to our children every day. Our youngest one is 25 and she just had her first baby. I’m happy that we’re close, my parents were close they were married for over 40 years before my dad passed away. Ken and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary but I’m surprised about how our children’s friends are all shocked of how close we are. They loved it when they came over as teenagers but they were just shocked how close of a family that we were.

  6. Sounds a bit like us , I’m catholic hubby isn’t though ahah , none of that matters but you can notice it in the loads of cousins. Its important and I totally get where you are coming from. Enjoy your memorable time together

  7. they are the first tribe beth!
    if one can’t get on with them then they have trouble with everyone else! … apparently!
    have a wonderful holiday guys! … glad you’ve arrived safely!
    much love m:)X

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