45 years ago, My grandma and grandpa were married on the banks of the Big Horn River in Hardin, Montana. They each brought children to their marriage, and later added a baby and an adopted son to their family, finally settling in Alaska with 8 children in tow. Growing up, I had no idea about yours, mine and ours, or that I came from an even bigger version of the Brady Bunch. We didn’t talk about blood, step, half or full. All we talked about was love, and we were all equally family.
My Mammo and Papa set a strong, firm tone that everyone in their family is to be loved loyally, fiercely, openly, and the same. I was taught that everyone needs and deserves love, support and acceptance, and that those who are struggling are probably the ones who need it most. I’ve watched my aunts and uncles teach their children to love in this way, and I’ve experienced their unconditional love myself. Spouses and grandchildren are welcomed into our circle with open arms. Cousins are like bonus siblings. We rally around each other in times of need, no matter the distance or the issue. My family is knit close.
I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to be born into a big, beautiful blended family until I began growing one of my own. When I added a “step”daughter to the mix, I watched as all of them opened their hearts and welcomed her in as one of us. Today, our family is too big for me to fully tag everyone on Instagram, or to even capture in a series of photos! Rocheleau clan, thank you for your grace, your big hearts, and for all of your love and unconditional support. Thank you for valuing hearts and souls over blood. We are so lucky to have each other—I love each and everyone of you and am so grateful to call you my family. ❤️
Happy golden birthday to this sparkly, giggly sweetheart! I love her big smile, her awesome dance moves, her giving spirit, and her huge heart. Happy 7th Birthday, Arya Mae! 💙💚💜