Today is my Mother’s birthday, so I was inspired to write a post about family. Family for me means everything: every single significant step in my life has been inspired, encouraged, and supported by my family. Fortunately, I grew up with two parents that love each other, and even after 44 years of marriage they show all signs of staying married forever. I also have a younger sister, who recently graduated college and is now a renewable energy engineer at GE.

Family is more important than many people realize. I’ve known people who refuse to visit or even talk to family members, and to me that’s upsetting. I’m a believer that at the end of the day, family is all we’ve got. Our family brought us into this world, took care of us when we were young and vulnerable, and played a determining factor into the molding the person we are today. While no family is perfect and every family goes through their own struggles, we are all human and are trying to do our best.

I recognize that in many ways I’m lucky: my family unit is strong, supportive, and loving. Not everyone has this. Family fights are all too common, and many people have alienated or are alienated from other family members. But whatever it is that may be tearing your family apart, it’s imperative that you find a way to fix it. Because the only thing that really matters in this world isn’t how much money you make, how famous you are, or how many of the opposite sex you get with. What matters is family. Because no matter if you’re down and out or on top of the world, it’s your family that’ll be there to support you.

Communication is critical to the health of a family. Even when there are no malicious intentions, we often get caught up in our own world, and forget to reach out to family members we may not have spoken to in weeks, months, or even years. When we forget to maintain the ties of family, we weaken critical sources of support. Therefore it’s necessary we make a conscious effort to maintain these family ties. Even a brief phone call can make all the difference.

The support a family provides is enormous and multi-faceted. Emotional support includes making us feel better by sharing happy moments together. Esteem support includes validating us when we’re succeeding, as well as helping us out when we’re not doing so well. Network support includes giving us a sense of belonging, that we have a home base and somewhere we feel loved. Tangible support includes paying our bills when we were growing up as well as enrolling us in programs to facilitate success.

Family bonding is meaningful. When we engage with family members, we allow for growth, success, and love in our lives. Bonding with family members lets us know we’re not alone in the world. We have the ability to go out there and do what we want to do, because we know our family will always be there to have our back. It’s this bond between us and our family that is both meaningful and brings meaning to life. They support us and we support them.

Conclusion: for me, family is everything. They supported me through all my trials and tribulations growing up, and continue to be nonstop supporters of me today. And even if you come from a broken family, I cannot stress enough how important it is to set aside your differences, let go of any slight they may have done to you, and appreciate the fact that your family brought you into this world, will be there throughout your life, and when your time on this planet has expired, they’ll be there to remember you.