The family jam.

I’ve been fortunate to have a very strong relationship with my family. I know that not everyone has that kind of connection with their relatives and instead prefer to connect with their friends as the family that they chose, so I feel very lucky to have that with mine. I always look forward to going home, even though I consider my base to be where I live in Toronto. At the end of a long day, or a rough week, I prefer to be in my own bed, in my own room, in my own house. I don’t long for the comfort of the old house, but when there’s a family event happening at home, I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to see everyone. My brother, my parents, my cousins, their significant others and their newly expanding families, even close friends sometimes — those friends so close that they are my family — are all reasons to be happy about returning home, for me.

It’s the family jam. It’s the Christmases and New Year’s Eves together. It’s the spaghetti dinners with the “kids” at one table and the adults at another. It’s the karaoke sessions, the board game laughter, and the movies in the living room. It’s the annual Father’s Day cottage weekend, the road trips to the States, and the annual late summer vacations abroad. It’s the afternoon dim sum, the barbecues on the porch, and the ball game on TV while waiting for the turkey in the oven. It’s the time together you can’t wait to spend and the looking forward to the next one when it’s done. It’s all love.

Sometimes it’s an actual family jam. My brother and I both grew up playing music and getting very skilled at it so when we get together, it’s easy to pick up a song or two, learn it, and have fun playing it. We actually did that early this evening with his girlfriend on the drums, him on the guitar, and myself on bass, as preparation for my Dad’s 55th birthday party this Sunday. There have been many a Christmas Eve multi-instrument duet learned just a day or two beforehand performed by us during the holidays. It’s definitely one of the highlights of coming home when he’s home from his base, much like myself. A real family jam.

Regardless of which family it is, blood, chosen, or both, never miss those special events, if you can help it. There’s a reason they happen, and it’s because of the energy that you feel once you’re spending time with those closest to you. Again, that doesn’t mean it has to be relatives. We’ve all been that teenager who wishes they were out with their friends instead of at Aunt or Uncle So-And-So’s weekend dinner, myself included. But our family changes over time, and what was once the most boring get-together can turn into a can’t-miss reunion. As long as it’s all love, then you’re with your family, blood ties or not. The family you choose is based on that love. I just happen to choose my actual family, with a few “adopted” family members added to the fold over the years.

The family jam is a unique energy. It replenishes your batteries when you’re running low like nothing else can. Love that time together whenever it happens with whoever you consider your real family. There’s nothing like it.

Photo by Trevor Allen

– Mickey

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