Okay, my post title is a Terminator 2 reference. And it doesn't even apply that hard to what I'm trying to get at. AN' WHAT. I like that movie. It's about family and Linda Hamilton's awesome arms and a mixture of practical and digital effects that continues to hold up to my aesthetic discrimination.
Perhaps you should forget everything I said after "family".
Families are mutable. Members are born or grafted in, and others pass or branch away. My closest friends & I call each other family nouveau, though at this point I feel like the "nouveau" is superfluous. When I spend time with them doing the most human things -- cooking, laughing, holding their children's hands, sharing our stories -- we are family.
This has been a strange, difficult year for me. I've come to virtual emotional fisticuffs with depression, anxiety, new loves and loves past, and sudden loss. But, luckily for all of us, the universe doesn't revolve around me & my tribulations, nor around any of my family members or their own troubles. For as much awkwardness and hurt as any of us experience, there are still days bright & brisk, grandparents lavish with hugs and gifts, favorite movies and games to re-experience, technically and calorically hazardous new recipes to attempt, dessert tables, espresso and sambuca, comfy pants, ready smiles. I will save these things up to remember when everything seems terrible, because the world is every bit as beautiful as I'm capable of helping make it.