My Definition of Family…

After packing and unpacking various bags and driving through several states in our beloved 2000 Honda CRV that has a few quirks that we have grown to love and behold… we have officially visited our long distance family members and the fulfillment is remarkable. 

 I could share the funny details of a total of 44 hours in a car with a six-year-old and a nine-year-old…

      * My six-year-old son screaming,“MOMMY!!!  My BUTT won’t stop itching and I can’t itch it!”

      * My nine-year-old daughter singing for HOURS, over and over and over again…at the top of her lungs while listening to    her ipod, “What doesn’t kill you makes you STRONGER…”


 I could share funny details of things gone wrong…

      *AC in the car breaking while driving SOUTH into the baking scorching heat.

      * Wrestling my six-year-old son off a bunk bed during a violent, screaming night terror around 2:00am.

      * And my favorite:  The valet at the Chicago hotel pulling up in a Mercedes Benz and handing us the keys.  (Quite tempting I must say…)

 I could share memorable moments…

       * A toast my father gave in cherishing 30 years with his second beloved wife.  When my father chokes up, it means something. 

       * My sister showing me her mutilated breasts and her fresh incisions from yet another surgery as the gut-wrenching “Cancer” identity continues to consume her and change her world.

       * Watching my nephew in his ‘element’ playing ball and showing his gifts as he grows and changes right before my eyes.  And tearing up as I cheered my precious niece doing butterfly in a swim meet race.  Seeing them in their world, made every maddening hour in the car thoroughly worth it.

      * Sharing in the sisterhood of laughter and jokes led by my mother’s unconditional acceptance and interrupted opinions.  Our traditional family roles are steadfast even though we have all changed in so many ways.

      * Seeing Chicago over and over again never gets dull or boring.  Taking my kids to the 96th floor of the Hancock building, the American Girl Place, the Field Museum, the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, and the Double Decker Tour Bus never gets old!

 Family:  Webster’s Dictionary defines this word as…

 Parents and their children.  Considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.

 Family:  My definition…

 A group of people that have a lifelong commitment to love each other through suffering, triumphs heartache, changes, disease, death, failures, struggles, celebrations, achievements, laughter, success, conflicts and dreams fulfilled.

There is no family without it conflicts, its suffering, its losses, and its pain.

There is no family without its joy, its celebrations, its traditions, its dedication, and its undying love.

 I am so grateful to have my family.  My broken, quirky, sick, hilarious, annoying, conflicting, strong, vivacious, stubborn, dysfunctional, forgiving, opinionated and enduring family.  🙂






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  1. Marcia says

    Another heartwarming masterpiece. I felt like I made the drive with you and got choked up at all the marvels (both scenic and human) along the way. You are a true artist — your medium is words! Love it and love you!

  2. Diana says

    What a wonderful tribute to your family and your journey (in miles and in family life)! How fortunate you are!

  3. Candice says

    Where’s the personal tribute to me?? I figured I would get most the glory in this post but I guess not. (lol) Carters have been movin’ and groovin’ the last month, whew! Hope everyone can make it back together again next summer….I’m so grateful your travels were smooth and safe, keep truckin Honda CRV and our 2002 Ford Windstar!! We just crossed the 240,000 mile line, come on baby!! I’m sure you have another year or two in you, right?!!! 🙂

    • says

      HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I had to edit my post and deleted the paragraph singing your praises!!!! Maybe I will come up with a personal praise article ALL about YOU!!!! Yeah! I’m liking it!!! Look for it!

  4. Sue Theimer says

    And I interrupt with MY opinion. . .does that mean that I am “opinionated”?????? Fancy that! None of you listen any more and I just keep interrupting. . .although you DID listen when you asked me about ‘Mitt Romney’; bless you Crissy!!!! This was a really great, funny posting; you do a wonderful, descriptive job of writing about ‘US’!

    • says

      HA! I love our quirky, loving and sometimes madenning dynamic!!! And may I share MY opinion? Since you named me, I do believe you need to check your spelling. 😉

  5. Heather says

    There is nothing like being surrounded by family, there’s something so indescribable about the bond and how you just know each other and your history and all of the fun that ensues. We had almost all of my Mom’s side of the family here for Thanksgiving, I think there was like 34 of us and I hosted. One of my Aunts or cousins commented thanking me for allowing all of the chaos and my Mom said, “are you kidding!? She is loving this!” And I was. Such a blessing to have your family around and make lifelong memories. Great post! <3

    • says

      Oh thank you so much for reading and commenting!!!! I love what you shared! I can only imagine that many family members in one home- what joy!! So glad you are in such a beautiful family and so glad you appreciate it and embrace the chaos!!!! SO cool!!

  6. Lee Ann says

    Well that’s why we haven’t seen you in forever. Speaking of family…the summer hasn’t been quite right since we haven’t seen you guys in a while. Really? 44 hours in the CAR! Unless you were actualy camping in the car…that is a prescription for maddness! Our family reunion is this coming weekend. I’ll be remembering your definition of family throughout. 🙂

    • says

      Oh yes dear friend, I am missing our ‘family’ time too! It’s been a crazy summer for sure. Thanks sooo much for reading and commenting!! When our current crisis is over, we must get together! Enjoy and embrace the family definition this weekend!!!!! LOL

  7. Jen says

    What a wonderful experience for you all! 44 hours is a LOOOONNNNGGG time to be in a car anyhow, even without your precious children. I’m so happy to hear about your experiences. Praying for your sister.

    • says

      Yes long car rides are soooo hard! But well worth it to see family you haven’t seen in a long time! Thanks so much for reading and commenting dear friend!!! And thanks so much for your prayers for my sister. 🙂

  8. Melissa says

    Family trips are nuts!! We chose to make ours this summer with a 3 week old newborn! Crazy? He was actually the best behaved one of us all!! It is funny we were just talking about family trips when mom was here waiting the birth. I was telling Blake that we drove to Williamsburg and Gettysburg when I was in 4th grade and my brother in 6th. I told him that was the best vacation mom and dad ever took us on, we just had a blast, and I loved the battle sites and museums. I was completely serious. My mom was looking at me like I was insane! She said, “WHAT? Are you SERIOUS? You and your brother pissed and moaned that whole trip, it was miserable! All you wanted to do was go back to the campground and swim! You complained the whole time!” Wow, amazing. I so don’t remember that at all! HEHE! Sorry mom and dad!

    • says

      That’s HILARIOUS!!!!! Well I guess through you, we can learn that our kids may actually get something out of the trips they moan and groan about!!! Great story!!! And so glad that gorgeous Fagan was the best behaved of you all! For some reason, I totally believe it!!! 😉

  9. Angie VanKannel says

    I don’t know what I enjoyed more, your story or your families comments!!!!! Love your blog. Keep up the good work!!!

    • says

      HA! I think the mercedes benz was the best, especially when they pulled up our “correct car” afterward, all dirty and broken and withered… We soooo do not fit in there!! The valet guy tried to open our one door but it is broken-so I explained and smiled nervously. You know that smile!!! Then I giggled and started to ramble on, like I do when I am embarrassed. You know that talk! LOL

  10. Barb Cooper says

    Enjoyed your post! 🙂 I finally had a chance to get out to read your blog again. I hope you’re having a good summer!

    • says

      Oh THANKS SO MUCH for reading and COMMENTING Barb! YAY! Great and very crazy busy summer over here….hope you are having a great one too!! 🙂

  11. says

    What a fantastic post!!! Very entertaining and moving 🙂 I love your definition of family . Beautiful!!! I Look forward to read more ~ Bea

  12. Carol says

    Is our family dysfunctional?!?!?!? Ha – aren’t they all? Funny to read, sis… I am glad I was there to share some of those memories with you. Don’t think I’ll post anything on your blog again – my “Pickle” really took an ass whoopin! Ha! Love you so much…

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