Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow
slayground

Family: Courtney Sheinmel

A few days ago, the two-year-old son of one of my dearest friends was rushed to the hospital. (Before I go any further, let me just tell you that the baby is fine; he got an absolutely clean bill of health.) Moments after the ambulance came, my friend's husband called to tell me what was going on. I dropped the phone, ran outside, got a cab, and raced to the hospital. On the way over, I started to think about what I would tell the receptionist at the ER. I desperately wanted to be with my friend and her son, and I was afraid the emergency room staff wouldn't understand that we were such close friends that really we were family.

The thing is, I've always had a really broad definition of family. I don't think you need to share DNA or be legally related to someone to be their family. Tonight, just before I sat down to write this, I looked the word "family" up in the American Heritage College Dictionary. It was a pretty long entry, so I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing here, but this was my favorite part: "Two or more people who share goals and values, [and] have commitments to each other. . . ."

There are a lot of people in my life who fit this definition, people who are my family in the truest sense of the world, people for whom I am grateful every single day.

When I got to the hospital, I went straight back to the pediatric ER. I spotted my friend sitting on a gurney, the baby asleep in her arms. I sat down next to her, just like I belonged there. A few minutes later, a nurse came over to take the baby's vital signs. He woke up and started to cry. "It's okay,” the nurse said. "Settle down. Your family is here."

Yes, I thought. We are.

- Courtney Sheinmel

Follow the series of family posts.
Read my 2008 interview with Courtney Sheinmel.
Read my 2009 interview with Courtney Sheinmel.
Discover Courtney's definition of hope.
Read my review of Courtney's first novel, My So-Called Family.
Read my review of Courtney's second book, Positively.
Read my review of Stella Batts Needs a New Name by Courtney Sheinmel, illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell.
Tags: books, family, interviews
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