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  • Nancy Anne Vincent

Finding Family in Unexpected Places

I’ll have to be honest, I didn’t expect to be finding myself writing about something as simple as my new profound idea of what “family” looks like, but here I am thinking back on my family these past few months. 

In December of last year, I found myself faced with a decision to leave what is familiar to me and face the fear of my choice being the wrong one. When you are put in a position to make a decision that could drastically change your future, everyone around you is going to tell you to only listen to yourself. My GanGan (my grandma for those of you who haven’t heard me talk about her on days end) always told me two things when making a decision in life; one, give it to God and it will fall into place, and two, think about what YOU want, not what others want. I am sure you have had multiple people in your life who tell you to always listen to yourself. I found that when it comes from someone who has experienced so much life such as my GanGan, I know it has to be a good thing to follow. 

In listening to this advice, I can’t help but think about my people. I think everyone can agree that it feels good to meet those people who just get you. I have my girls at home, I'm sure everyone has those hometown people. But when meeting your people at a time in your life that is so chaotic, in this instance, the chaos of College, it's important to hold them close. I never knew that a collection of diverse personalities would work as well as it does, but I’ve grown to see that each of my friends has something so special about them that makes them feel like instant family to me. 

At home, I have my two sisters, and anyone who knows the three of us knows that we could not be any more different than each other. Mary Frances is the epitome of what it's like to live your life learning through books and experiences and using your spiritual and emotional strength to try new things. Gracie thrives off of being a service to others by helping anyone she can. In watching Gracie, she is a pure example that it is our limitations and our wounds that serve, because our wounds give us the empathy to want to help others. Becoming aware of your own strength is one of the greatest things to learn and I can attest that both of my sisters are a living testament of using their strength to build up the people around them.

It’s been hard on my family this past year to find time to be with each other. In times like this when making time to see my people is hard, I can only hope that their time is being filled with something that is entirely rewarding to them. It’s hard to pull Grace out of a job that she loves, and flying to and from Chicago for Mary Frances will never become easier. But like I said, I remind myself (and my mom!)  that they love where they are. 

Being the youngest, I had one year of high school where it was just me and my parents in the house because one sister was entering college and the other was graduating and starting her life. Yeah, being the youngest is fun, especially when you play the “third child card.”  But, being the third child also means that your siblings and parents grow up with you and life does not get put on hold. When the lack of time my family was able to spend together grew, my sisters and I quickly surrounded ourselves with our people every day to give us that company. Gracie has her group in Greensboro, Mary Frances has it in Chicago, and I have it here, in Spartanburg. Looking back, I can imagine that although this lack of time together as a family was hard on my parents, they had the clarity knowing that we were with our people. 

Well, that brings me to this past week. On Monday, I got a call from my mom that she would not be able to attend my sorority's Moms Weekend  because my GanGan had fallen. Knowing the go-getter and positive person that my GanGan is, I was confident that it would be okay and that she would give it to God. Just like she says. Although the event of my GanGan was hard to piece together in terms of what the future would look like, knowing that my mom would have to miss out on a special weekend left me feeling unsettled. That feeling did not last long because I had my close friends and their mothers who stepped in and treated me just as if I were their own. Now, when I talk about family, I remind myself how grateful I am that I have people who can so easily jump in. They were my family this weekend and did not make me feel any less than that. With that, I am lucky enough to have one of my mom’s best friends be a role model for me as I continue to grow up; it's comforting knowing that when unexpected things occur in life I have her to turn to. This taught me that family things will happen, and it is important to have those people who will scoop you into their circle. 

Finding the right people is hard, and I recognize that maybe not everyone will find that sense of family like I’ve grown to. If it's hard to find family, shift your focus on finding fulfillment in doing things for the service of others and yourself. 

So, with that being said, I remember that when I was given that big decision to make in December, how could I not think about these people who I consider my family. I have people all around me that lift me up, and just as my GanGan would say, wherever I am I will be okay because whatever choice I make is the right one and my people will be there.

 Until next time… Keep redecorating… on the inside and out

Nancy Anne

1 Comment

Mar 12

Thank you Nancy Anne. Beautifully written and such a good message! Loved seeing you last weekend too! Elizabeth Reames



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