When we grow old, we may walk a little slower, bend down more gingerly and lose a few movements we took for granted when we were much younger; but as more numbers are added to our existence granted to walk this Earth, we gain the most valuable asset a man or woman can ever have, a miracle only seniors can enjoy, and that miracle is of course grandchildren and great grandkids, more fondly referred to as family.

What does the word “family” mean and where did it originate? Actually, no one really knows. In the 15th century the English word was derived from Latin “famulus”, at that time used to describe a household which included servants. An ancient description is somewhat vague, “A married couple or other group of adult kinsfolk who co-operate economically and in the upbringing of children and all or most of whom share a common dwelling.”

In 1689 Pierre Magnol was a famous botanist who recognized seventy-six different species of plants and referred to each group as a “family” of plants. More recent dictionary definitions state family is a group of persons related by birth, marriage or adoption who live together – all such related persons are considered members of one family. Nowhere in all of the references did I find the word love. To me, when I speak of family, my parents and my siblings or my wife and our children, we must include love or to me it is not family.

My wife Kay and I have five grandsons, two granddaughters and four great-granddaughters, most of whom live many miles away, so we rarely get a chance to visit. Two of our granddaughters, Jennifer and Katy, decided to pack up our four great-granddaughters – Alyssa, Laurel, Julia and Emily – in their van and drive to Ennismore to spend the day with grandma and grandpa. Not only did they endure the long drive, they even brought dinner, enough scrumptious food to feed an army so grandma would not have to hurriedly cook a big meal. What a wonderful day. The warmth of togetherness filled every room and the word love, although used many times, could be physically felt in all of our hearts and minds. The visit ended with hugs and kisses all around and of course the promise to stay in touch by phone or computer.

So, what is family? What is family including the word love? I think I just described it. 

By Russ Sanders