I knew, sort of, what a non-traditional family was. I'd used them a lot in my writing, too: Ralurick spends his childhood with a single mother and his adolescence with his grandmother; Ella's raised by her grandmother; Topher's raised by everybody on his mother's side except his mother, and Matt seems to be the only one who has the seemingly requisite mother-father-siblings dynamic.
I have that, too. I have two parents who are still married, and a sister. But my nuclear family has grown a little bit. It grew six years ago with the birth of my niece. And it changed two years ago when, on the outset, everything went to hell.
We've always been fluid. Sunday dinners during the winter are one of my favorite unofficial traditions, and I can't remember when we started them. Whether they're at our house or my sister's is up for grabs throughout the day, and sometimes whoever isn't responsible for dinner itself brings dessert.
When I first came home from the hospital post-surgery, stairs weren't really something I could handle a lot. The result was that I took a lot of my meals upstairs, sitting in one of my mother's straight-backed chairs. When I gained a little more mobility - and less fear of falling without being able to catch myself - and my mother started going to work for the latter half of the day, I ate dinner with my sister and niece.
That has been, hands-down, one of the best things about my recovery. The ability to see those two smiling faces on a daily basis, to help with homework (we're not large fans of Common Core math because sometimes it feels like two women with four-year degrees don't have a clue what's going on and the kid is only in first grade), to read with her, and to sit on the back porch and look with new eyes on an old, trusted view.
For these two I am grateful and thankful beyond words.