Written by Morgan Jones, Esquire
( Real Estate & Estate Planing at Decato Law Office)
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. I know things can be stressful this time of year, and lonely for many. If you’re short on, or far away from, your relatives, it can feel very lonely. I would challenge you to remember that “family” doesn’t have to mean “relatives.” Having a blood, or legal, bond with someone is not a prerequisite to a strong emotional bond. I am lucky to get to spend the long holiday weekend with my mom, and time around the holidays with friends who are really just family with a few less genes in common with me. Almost every day I get to spend with my work family here at DLO. The camaraderie in this office is like nothing I have ever seen before. Look around you and remember that “family” is an inclusive term.
You can often be lucky to be gifted with temporary “family,” as well. I have been so lucky multiple times in my life. When I was in undergrad, I spent one winter break volunteering at a domestic violence shelter for women and children. Unfortunately, due to the stressful nature of the season, such shelters are often packed this time of year. That winter was no exception. Every bed was filled with women and children. The shelter put up and decorated a tree, and put out other holiday decorations. We got some ingredients for the kitchen so the residents could have a special holiday dinner. Some residents were able to bring their gifts when they moved into the shelter, but some were not. One mom and young daughter wanted to be sure that everyone in the shelter would have a gift to open on Christmas morning. They went to the dollar store and bought a scented candle or other small item for each resident. When they came back from their shopping trip, I was the volunteer on duty and I let them in the door after they rang the buzzer. The little girl followed me into the volunteers’ office. She told me that she wanted to give me a present too, so she had picked out something special, just for me. She gave me a little statue of a ballerina sitting on chair tying her ballet shoes. It is my most prized possession, to this day. I used to pack it away every year and bring it out only at Christmastime, and my heart would melt every time I unwrapped it from its protective paper and put it on display near the tree. Earlier this year I went through some hard family times, and I decided I needed to see it all the time. It lives on my dresser where I see it every morning, and it always makes me smile. That little girl was a treasured member of my “family,” if only for a couple weeks years ago, because she cared so much to make that shelter feel like a family.
May you all find peace and happiness this season, no matter where you are, or who you are with.