Nana Mary died last night.

Nana Mary Beattie Holiday is the grandmother of my best friend from high school. Jen’s entire family pretty much adopted me back in the day and as a result I have extra Aunties and Uncles and Cousins and Parents than I was originally born with.

Jen’s sister Jane texted the news to me this morning. I immediately changed all my plans so I could drive to Rhode Island and be whatever they needed today. While I was driving, I spoke to many people who are important members of my life: my husband, my mother, two of my best friends and someone I think of as my baby sister. On the way home, I spoke with another of my best friends and again, my husband and mother. With the exception of my mother, everyone I spoke with today, either on the phone or down in Rhode Island is my family by choice.

Family by choice is a powerful thing, especially when they choose you back. Auntie Mary and Linda-Mom looked a little surprised to see me, but where else would I be? They let me be a part of their family all of those years ago. They showed up for my first wedding and my Dad’s funeral. They invited me back for other family events over the years and even took the time to hunt me down when I tried to run away from everyone I held dear. Even though I chose them, they chose me back.

I had a whole list of things I needed to do today to make my work week easier: picking out work outfits, grocery shopping, meal prepping…I still have to do all of that and I’ll probably end up doing that every day this week instead of setting up the stockpiles I envisioned. I was where I was needed. All I did was hug some people, but while I was hugging, magic happened. Love happened. God.happened.

Family isn’t always a biological thing. It isn’t always a legal thing. It is always a heart thing, and I’m very glad that I could ease the hearts of so many of my family members today.


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