Chapter 22. Thick and Thin: Sticking Together as a Family

"Through thick or thin, you always have your family." Maybe you've heard that before. But the question is . . . do you believe it?

Stop and think about it for a moment. Let the words rest on you while you ponder what thick and thin both look like. Each of us has our own ideas, and there are certainly no right or wrong answers. Maybe a memory flashes across your mind immediately—a moment in time when your heart was broken and the comfort of your mother's hand stroking your hair was the only thing that stopped the tears coming down your cheeks.

Or perhaps your memory is filled with joy and celebration: Winning that award or being selected to represent your school or team, and wanting to pick up the phone immediately to call your husband, sister, or partner, screaming delight into the receiver.

Why is that? Where—and how—do those bonds begin?

I believe they begin at home, in the day-to-day-ness of life. I believe they begin because we're there for each other when it's happy, and also when it's not. It comes from being there when it's hard and inconvenient, when you've got a million phone calls to return and another million errands to run. Being there with nothing to say—but just being there.

Claire called me from college once and I realized in the midst of our conversation—even though I probably knew it long ago—that we've achieved that sort of relationship as mother and daughter. I'm sure Matt would say the same thing, but that ...

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