Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Family Is What You Make It #StreamTeam

Me, I grew up in a very traditional family. I think. My parents were married to each other (still are), one man, one woman. I had one brother, pets. Of course, for the first 5 years of my life we lived with my grandparents. Then we bought a house with a basement apartment, where first some university students, then my uncles, then my other grandparents and an uncle lived. I always had lots of adults around who loved me, and extended family, whether blood or otherwise, was super important. I never had a real sister, but always thought of my parents' best friends' daughter that way. And my cousins all played big roles.

These days my family is a little different. Hubs and I are common-law. I have a son and a step-son. So some days we have two kids in the house, but most days it's just one. There are no grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins close by; we have to drive an hour to see my aunt and her family. Friends have stepped into family roles. Boo firmly believes certain kids are his cousins, and he introduces them that way. He has lots of aunties and uncles who love him, and many of them have been taking him for sleepovers since he was very wee, just like family does when mom and dad need a hand.

Family is what you make it, and I count myself lucky to have such an amazing, huge, extended, inherited and chosen family, all over the country.

Netflix has a new original series that explores what it means to be a family, and it had me hooked from the first episode. I watched all 13 episodes over the course of three nights. Now I'm hoping for Season 2!

Grace and Frankie is the story of two very different women whose law partner husbands leave them after 40 years of marriage. The kicker? The husbands have been having an affair for years, are in love, and want to get married. To each other. Here's the trailer:

With a cast including Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, how can you go wrong? The show is funny, poignant, clever, silly, and the characters are truly engaging. Each couple has grown children, and the families have always been connected. The relationships among the kids as they negotiate the new situation are really interesting. My take - they've grown up together and are already much like siblings. Now they are truly step-siblings. But the most interesting relationship is between Grace and Frankie themselves. They have a lot to work out, including who gets the shared beach house. You'll have to watch to see how they gradually create their own, new family dynamic.

Here are some other Netflix titles you can check out with your own version of family. You might have some interesting conversations with your kids!

For your big kids:

1. Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
3. Despicable Me
4. Kung Fu Panda
5. Full House
6. Yours Mine and Ours
And for teens and adults:

What does family mean to you? Who do you count among your closest family?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam program, and receive special perks as part of my involvement. I was not financially compensated for this post. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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