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  • My family has taken a path that, in the beginning would've appeared to be a relatively common one. My parents were married and I came along 9 months later. My sister was born 4 years later, and soon thereafter we moved to a nice suburb because it was a premier school district. When I was 13, my parents decided to get a divorce. They split up, somewhat acrimoniously, and it appeared that we were well on our way to being like a majority of American families.

    When my parents split up, my grandfather on my father's side was living with us, helping out. He decided that he should stay and help my mother take care of us. I had named him Poppy when I was a baby and the name had stuck. Poppy is amazing, it's hard to say enough about him. Eventually my mother's parents would move in with us too, and under my mother's roof lived myself and my sister, her parents, and Poppy.

    Poppy's decision to stay at my mother's house led to the low point in my family's relationship. My father was upset with him about the decision, and certainly upset with my mom, as the divorce was less-than-amicable.

    Eventually my dad met my step-mother and they married. Soon thereafter, some 18 years after I was born, my half-brother would be born. It was this event that marked a true turning point. Leading up to it, my family had started to mend itself. My father and mother started to become friendly again. Maybe the outcome would be a little different - maybe we wouldn't be like every other divorced American family.

    When my brother was born, it brought everybody together. The bonds that were laid down were very strong. My parents remembered that they used to be very close friends, and rekindled that friendship. My family became so close that my mother was named my half-brother's godmother. Yes, you read that correctly. How could we have known that would just be the beginning?

    From that moment on, everything changed. Holidays and vacations were always a collective experience. Each of them involved parents, a step-mother, a sister, a half-brother and a grandfather. Later they would include my wife. I assume soon enough they will include my daughter (which of course would mean parents become grandparents, and Poppy becomes a great grandfather - 4 generations of us all traveling together, celebrating together).

    Although my sister and I would eventually move out of my mother's house, Poppy never would. They still live together, and my parents are still best friends.

    I used to call us the most functional dysfunctional family. But I've seen actual dysfunctional families and I know that we would never qualify. We're just a very lucky family, one that has been able to forgive each other more times than I can count. One that knows how important it is to have each other and be there for each other no matter what.
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