I love people watching on the LRT.

I love guessing where people are going and who is with them as they travel.

Are they related – how are they related?

Are they heading home?

Where is home?

What does home look like?

Family. So many definitions. Literally. Here’s just one:

The Vanier Institute of the Family defines “family” as:

Any combination of two or more persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption or placement and who, together, assume responsibilities for variant combinations of some of the following:

  • Physical maintenance and care of group members
  • Addition of new members through procreation or adoption
  • Socialization of children
  • Social control of members
  • Production, consumption, distribution of goods and services, and
  • Affective nurturance — love

This weekend, families in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving.

-Living in Canada is definitely something on my thankful list-

Typically, I would be gathering around a huge dinner table this weekend at my dad and stepmom’s home surrounded by lovely chatter. But living a province away, I will be missing out on that experience this year. But I have memories – and this weekend I am specifically reminiscing about last year’s thanksgiving.

It was a gathering to top all gatherings!


My brother and his lovely lady brought her family to my dad and stepmom’s home. Her family travelled from Korea to spend time with their daughter – and they instantly enriched our definition of family.

Listening with caring eyes

Laughing as though we’ve shared inside jokes for years

Sharing stories

Sharing good food

Love. So comfortable.

That is what family should be – a place of comfort.

My family gathering this thanksgiving will be small – just the two of us. I am loved and comfortable in our little family of 2. We won’t be enjoying turkey though (…Frank has been having turkey sandwiches almost everyday lately…and I’m a vegetarian…).

Like all other years, I am thankful for Frank 🙂 This year I am especially thankful for the sacrifices he is making so I can pursue my PhD here in Alberta.

And as I continue to reflect on the meaning of family:

  • I am thankful for the memories of last year’s gathering of 2 families into 1
  • I am thankful knowing that a new forever family of 5 is experiencing thanksgiving together
  • I am thankful that my friend Tania finds daily strength from the members of her family
  • I am thankful for my opportunity to learn about ‘family’ through research

So, wherever you are this weekend, I wish you a love-filled thanksgiving surrounded by family – be it in a family of 2, 3, or 4, a new family of 5, an extended family of many, a church family, the experience of family when travelling, …and every configuration in between and beyond!

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