There are two types of family in this world. The family you are born into, and the family you create. The family you are born into is one of chance. You learn together, grow together, and hopefully, as has been my experience, you stand together no matter what. I have been blessed with an incredible family, and even though sometimes they do things to make you mad like steal your birthday cornflake chicken (*cough*ANGELA*cough*), and they sometimes have to tell me the hard truth, I know they always, always have my best interest at heart. I wouldn't trade them for the world. But tonight I want to talk about the families we create.
Two years and three summers (football seasons) ago, you may remember that our family became part of the semi-pro football world. You may also remember that I was less than enthused at first. We drove up to the first game to play the Tri-State Buffalos. I heard that one phrase that changed it all, "Welcome to the family." And from then on, the world was different. Dramatic much? Not really. Sure, it would be easy to say that my summers were different, or football was different, but I honestly mean my whole world was different. My family and I had become a part of something bigger than I'd realized. We were part of a family that had been created.
What is a "created family?"
It's a family who chooses to be beside you when you're down, call you when you're sick, pick you up when things haven't seemed darker.
It's a family who chooses to include you in holiday dinners and christening the new baby and stands beside you on your wedding day.
It's a family who chooses to accept your faults and your flaws even though they don't have to and who celebrates your achievements.
It's a family who has absolutely zero obligation to do any of those things, and chooses to do them anyway because they care and they want to.
As my family heads into the 2017 SPFL Championship game this weekend, I want to thank each of you who have been a part of the journey, because it's important to appreciate your family.
Thank you for the highs of winning and the lessons learned in loss.
Thank you for the carpools and road trips.
Thank you for the meals shared.
Thank you for being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on.
Thank you for being my mentor.
Thank you for helping me with my projects at work.
Thank you for saving my life (on more than one occasion).
Thank you for always making me feel like my small contributions to the bigger picture matter.
Thank you for making my children feel loved and included.
Thank you for becoming crazy "uncles" to my babies, but also for being incredible role models.
Thank you for watching my kids.
Thank you for the invitations to be part of some of the biggest events in your lives.
Thank you for the inside jokes.
Thank you for fixing my flat tire, carrying my cooler, grabbing my kid a Gatorade.
Thank you for having my back when things got tough.
Most of all, thank you for the memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.
I don't know what next summer will bring, and I don't know what Saturday will bring (yes I do, and obviously it's a W), but I do know that I couldn't have asked for a better family to experience it with.