What is the meaning of family? We can “google” the word family and what comes up is: A group of people that are related, especially, parents and their children. But “family” can mean more than blood relatives with similar DNA, right?
Family for me, means my eco-system of family, friends, colleagues, and mentors that fill my life with love, light and support as I take my life’s journey. Whether we are related or not, they stand with me, behind me, to ensure that I can fulfill my mission to be a good citizen, a considerate friend, a great mother, wife, partner and daughter.
Family can be those we confide in and with whom we share our deepest secrets. Family can be the best friends that absolutely know everything there is to know about us and yet are constantly learning something new. They are the ones that we listen to and the ones that listen to us. The ones that we have not seen for 5, 10 years or more and in one day, can catch up with each other as if no time has passed.
Family is based on love, even if that love may change or be “twisted” due to life’s events. Family means acceptance, even if it takes months, years of hashing out our differences. Family should not be “let go” no matter how annoying at times. However, we have all seen families/friends who have broken up and lost that loving connection.
Our immediate and extended Suey Leong family is one that has strong connections and innate values that we practice all the time. Yes, with over 150+ living members in our extended family there are differences of opinion, but our family comes first. We serve and support each other to the best that we can.
The photo above is our immediate family, with our first daughter Nicole and our parents, taken in the year 2000. While our parents have passed away, their values, their strong sense of family remains with us.
The picture below is of our most recent Leong/Suey family reunion last year, where some 80+ people reunited to enjoy a weekend together. These young adults are the 4th generation of our family, who we have instilled the same values. We will see how they fare as they mature!
Family means everything to me. As an only child I learned to reach out and befriend others and found those people who are like-minded and filled with that special love, light and support that we all need and that we all can learn to share with our friends and family. These are the people who never give up on you and are there quietly waiting for you.
Lilo, in “Lilo and Stitch”, said it best,” Ohana means family and nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”