Family is all the people you love. The children, the grown ups, the old ones, the ones not here anymore, or not here yet. Family is the touch of a hand that knows parts of you better than you know yourself. The whispers of I love you before their darling little heads nod off to sleep. The brush of arm against arm in the hallway.
The familiar cackle and gasp of hysterical laughter. The warmth of your person beside you in bed. The reliable safety of arms around you. The warming gift of a cup of tea made by someone else. The knowing smile you share when tonight's the night.
Family is the heavy-hearted sigh of the things we take for granted. The blazing regret at all the useless arguments you ever had. Sleepless, tossing nights where someone else's comfort matters more than your respite. The last chocolate in the box, shared by lovers. The primal pleasure of a baby inside you. The pride at little milestones that matter more to you than anyone else, ever. The tapestry of fingerprints on windows. Knowing, by the immeasurable measure of your affinity with your own child, that THIS is how much your parents have loved you all this time. Sentences finished by someone else. Lost socks, shoes, hair ties - all the lost things. The faith we have every single day that we all be here tomorrow. Frustrations over difficult lollipop wrappers. Thankless days on end. Giving so much of yourself that you just become an extension of the children. Finding reward in things like happy mealtimes. Shouldering your child's heartache more than they do themselves. The mysterious breeding properties of bobby pins.
Family is tempers flaring for the sake of running late. The seeds of faith we plant that there is something in this world beyond what we can see with our eyes. Dishes piled in the sink. Wet washing. Warm breath on your neck. Overflowing bins. Disposable nappy guilt. Sarcastic responses to patronising questions. Assuming a compliment is intended to soften and ply rather than compliment. Settling for the furniture that will do, rather than the one you want because the price is right. Silent treatment and cold shoulders. The soothing lullaby of mummy's voice after a nightmare. Recipes passed down, and clothes that once belonged to an older cousin. The voices so similar that friends can’t tell them apart on the phone, yet so distinct that you know which child just coughed.
Family is the pressure of lips on a forehead, so familiar that you can't tell where you end and they start.
Family is here. It's beautiful. Yours. Together. Authentic. Now. Here. Remember. Capture. Evidence. Take the photos. Take them. Now. #takethephotos