This week (and every week, and every day, and every second) I am grateful for my family.
My family is all over the place, really. My parents and all my extended family come from the Czech Republic. My parents came to Australia all on their own, just before I was born. They left all their family so that they could start a peaceful, new life in a country far away.
It’s strange, growing up an only child, with no cousins or aunts or uncles or grandparents nearby, even though there are dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles ‘back home’. For me there was never a ‘back home’, there was always just home. Where my parents were.
Lots of other Czech people came to Australia around the same time as my parents. Fast and lifelong friendships formed where new lives and paths began. So although I didn’t have my actual extended family around me, I never felt the loss (or so I thought) because I had new aunts, uncles and cousins in the Czech community that became a second family to me. I am so blessed to have had a childhood full of people who had genuine love and affection for me.
We went back to Czech to visit family when I turned ten. I had never met my cousins or most of my aunts and uncles, so it was a little overwhelming. The airport in Prague was packed with family. So long ago now, but I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing everyone for the first time. And the loss I felt when we had to eventually leave.
These days, I have moved away from my old life to the other side of Australia with my own family. My husband’s family over here are wonderful, inclusive and caring. There are so many children, and I am so glad my daughters will grow up with their cousins, aunties and uncles and grandparents around them.
My family have helped shaped who I am and who I will be. There is no greater blessing than a happy, healthy and supportive family.