On Family.

15 Dec
Mabel Jane with her Great Step Grandfather

Mabel Jane with her Step Great Grandfather


The next little while is set to be somewhat frenetic in our household, as in many others, as we prepare for an early Christmas with my family’s little ones, and then a Christmas at the other end of life’s cycle with Mrs Chook’s ninety-year-old Mum and family.

Mrs Chook didn’t have kids and I don’t have a Mum, so we share.

There won’t be much on Sheep, except maybe some bleating about four-year-old Archie’s snoring, sleep talking and aggravated assault of his Giddy after he’s padded his way down the stairs from his bedroom to mine in the middle of the night  and in a stage whisper said “Giddy, can I get in your bed I promise I won’t pee.”

Well, he doesn’t pee, but he does thrash about and hit me in the eye.

A woman called Vicki once said to me, family is everything. I know she was talking about traditional heterosexual families. But for mine, that is a very narrow concept of family, and the fact that it’s heterosexual and traditional is no guarantee of it being any good.

It doesn’t matter how family is constituted: if there’s a group of people who love each other and share their lives, that’s a family. It’s about time this privileging of traditional heterosexual families came to an end.

My extended and blended family recently came together for the naming of our youngest babies, Mabel Jane, called after her late great-grandmother, and her cousin, Audrey Mae.

Mabel Jane & Audrey Mae on their naming day

Audrey Mae & Mabel Jane on their naming day

Mabel Jane brings the total number of grandchildren in this family to twenty. There are second marriages and ex partners and new partners and we all turn up for every wedding and naming and we all get on, regardless of our sometimes chequered histories, and we even get on when we’re pissed, so that’s some indication of how our family is everything to us.


Ted at his sister's naming day

Ted at his sister’s naming day


What astonishes me is the elasticity of the human heart, as it expands itself to make room for yet one more individual, adult or child, who through birth or commitment enters this family and becomes a member. We may not always like each other all of the time, and some of us wouldn’t want to spend our lives with some of us, but I doubt there’s any one of us who’d turn their back if someone  else was in trouble.

This is not to say some families aren’t shit. My family of origin was unspeakable, so there’s a dark side to the “family is everything” mantra: family can be everything in the worst possible way, haunting you for the rest of your life, and under those circumstances, Christmas is no fun.

If it’s awful I hope with all my heart that it passes quickly for you.

And no matter what combination constitutes your family, however big or small it may be, love one another the best you can, and put the all sharp implements in the high cupboards.

Archie at the party

Archie at the party













20 Responses to “On Family.”

  1. Carlene58 December 15, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    Jen, All the very best to you and yours, warmest wishes Carlene X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. townsvilleblog December 15, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Merry Christmas to all, we can’t afford Christmas this year but we hope everyone who can afford it enjoys themselves.


  3. townsvilleblog December 15, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    We wish all who can afford a Christmas a jolly good time. We are skipping Christmas this year, far too expensive for our family.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paul walter December 15, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    Freaky isn’t it? Mrs Chook may be spending one of the last xmasses of all with her folk.

    You don’t realise how important it is, the last few visits, till later.

    For yourself and Mrs Chook and your families, a peaceful and happy Xmas

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2015 at 5:14 am #

      And to you, PW, I’m so glad you reappeared in time for me to say that.


  5. samjandwich December 15, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    Lovely piece my dear Jennifer, and great photos. Nineteen grandchildren, how extraordinary! Merry Christmas to all of you.

    I’m also looking forward to getting together with my family, and happy to say that we’re preparing to welcome the first of the next generation in a few months’ time. Not mine I hasten to add, but it is the first indication that my family line isn’t going to die out completely within the span of a normal life expectancy. Funny because I think I’m getting more optimistic about the future as I get older:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2015 at 5:13 am #

      Actually, there’s twenty, Sam I forgot one.

      If you are travelling by after Xmas & we’re in residence, it would be excellent to catch up.

      Enjoy everything! xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • samjandwich December 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

        Cheers matey! Actually it’s quite possible we’ll be on our way through just after new year, so will definitely keep in touch about that.

        Needless to say any time you’re down Sydney way… (though I still haven’t quite figured out why anyone would want to come here/-;)

        And perhaps what I should have said last night is, eternal thanks for your efforts in producing your wonderful blog Jennifer. You are genuinely the best exponent of an intellectual ethical politic that I can think of, and a great inspiration.

        xxxx to you too (one less since I’m going to Qld next week!)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2015 at 6:28 am #

          I never go to Sydney unless forced so that isn’t going to happen, but thanks anyways Sam.
          Stay in touch, enjoy your hols, and thanks for all the fish xxxx


  6. Marilyn December 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    This year has seen the birth of another beautiful great grand daughter who is actually 100% not blood related but 1000% loved just as much as if she was, as is her beautiful sister.

    My older sister is the only person who can’t see that when you take on the step-child at age 4 she is yours for life no matter what happens.

    I have wall to wall wonderful women that make up my closest family. My amazing daughter, her 2 daughters and we graciously allow two actually wonderful young men to join us – they are my grandson’s in law whom I love as if they were my own as well.

    We had a double christening in September, I had a great niece born on my favourite great aunties birthday in May, a wedding for my oldest grand daughter in November. Some actual celebrations that brought joy and love.

    Then I look at the rest of the country and weep.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

      Do you ever think how lucky we are to have escaped our shitty childhoods and have these families, Marilyn?
      We turned it all around, didn’t we? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn December 16, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

        I must say it was all an accident but my older sister who never turned it around has no-one close and lives on Prozac.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. myzania December 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Merry Christmas to you and the family. 🙂
    I agree…family is everything, in it’s broadest sense, as our elastic hearts grow….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LSWCHP December 18, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    Thank you for that lovely piece Jennifer. Your love for your extended family shines through in every word, and it does you great credit. Thanks also for your marvellously intelligent, passionate and insightful articles during the course of the year.

    Best wishes for a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas and and a prosperous new year. I hope Santa brings you nice toys. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 20, 2015 at 9:47 am #

      Thank you LSWCHP, and all the same lovely wishes to you and yours.


  9. doug quixote December 19, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    All the best for the holiday season, Guinevere.

    Liked by 1 person

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