Our family is dispersed and disparate. Not close. Having your own children brings family into new focus. I’ve spent more time with my immediate family. When my mother died I appreciated the kinship and ties of family who came together and I began to recognise the common bonds of family but also the reflections of them in me and me in them. The not just genetics but a shared history that ties us. In the mirror I catch glimpses of my mother in my own reflection. I’m still building a history with my partners family, we share a bond based around him. He is a father, partner and a grandfather. Noo and I are his second family. In his first family I see reflections of his characteristics. The characteristics that bond me to him now bond me to them.  The bonds of family are strong even when family disappoints. Our family is small Noo has no cousins. He does have nieces and nephews. Does that make us a modern family? Or just a family in a slightly different shape? The gaps in family for us are filled by friends. The friends that are there in times of crisis in spirit and in person. Friends that you have memories with, good memories. The type of friends that no matter how much time has passed, it was if no time has passed at all.  Friends in which you can reflect on the goodness and who reflect back a special bond.  The type of friends I proudly call ‘family’. Because family is what you make it and it seems the best survive. I hope in the future Noo will catch glimpses of me and his father in his own reflection and think fondly of his family.



  1. Ali

    What a fantastic post and really, really brilliant photo. I am quite sure Noo see’s you in his reflection (I do). Family is what you make it which is probably true about everything though isn’t it? xxx

  2. saveeverystep

    Great photo. On my wedding day I was left alone for a few minutes to put on my make-up. I looked in the mirror and it was so crystal clearly my Mother (recently passed away at that point) staring back at me. Wow. It really floored me and I’ve never forgotten it.

  3. Midlife Singlemum

    We also have a friends have become family situation here. I love it that Noo has nieces and nephews. DD has cousins but they’re teenage boys and live a whole c ontinent away – she still loves them though.

  4. Jenny paulin

    I always enjoy reading your Gallery posts Gemma. Such a pleasure. You are right, of course, we keep a part if us alive through our children and I fthen see glimpses of my parents in me and I await seeing more of me in my own xx

  5. Living Life as an Expat Parent

    Beautifully and thoughtfully written. It really is so hard to sum up what family actually means. I grew up in a very large (26 cousins on my Mom’s side!) and very close family. I have certainly found that that familial bond you can have with certain friends has been a lifeline to me since I’ve moved away from them.

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