I was reading today about how there’s a Hawaiian term ‘ohana’ which means family in the broad sense–relatives, best friends, everybody who loves you, and you love.   I am a fan of broad sensibilities and I am a particular fan of broad understandings of family.  Something that I think can be difficult for some of my immediate family from time to time. 

Not however, when I have just had brain surgery and they live 2,000+some odd miles away.  My parents came out for over a week (a huge thing given they’ve never been out to visit me here before and they did it at the last moment with much rearranging of lives) and part of what shocked them was how many people here are trying to take care of me.  There is the couple who invited my parents into their home, the friends who fed all of us and visited me in the hospital, the friend with whom I’m staying as I recover, and so many other people.  The people they couldn’t see because they don’t live here, or were away, or because they only know me on the internet.  All of whom are family. 

And this is what I was thinking about while writing.

you were my first family,
your arms the first to cradle me,
you the first to love me,
despite the tantrums,
the sulking, the pouting
Which made you the first to forgive
you the first to encourage
you who cherished me
you, who are to me, Family

But you are not the last or only
I have found others,
others who hold, and love, and forgive
others who seem to cherish me,
just as I try to cherish them
family I love better for having you first
as my family

Still there was one other
One more than family,
the First to Love
one whose arms go unseen
whose smile must be believed
whose presence must be trusted
one who shows us all that
we are all Family, that
Love is even greater                
written 3/16/08

And I knew I was feeling better when I was writing poetry again. 

More on how the week has been Friday or Saturday. You know, after the week is over.