Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How Do You Define “Family”? with Carolyn Greene


By Carolyn Greene

We were the Brady Bunch.  But different.  Whereas the popular TV family featured a mom, a dad, three girls, three boys, and a housekeeper (RIP, Ann B. Davis, a.k.a. “Alice”), ours consisted of a mom, a dad, one girl (moi!), five boys, and unfortunately no housekeeper.

Although we weren’t as syrupy sweet as those sitcom kids, in the yours-mine-and-ours family of my youth none of us ever used the words “step-” or “half-” when referring to our siblings.  To our way of thinking, we were all just sister and brothers.  Perhaps that’s why I like to explore the concept of family in my novels, whether the members are joined by birth, adoption, marriage, or choice.  Family is love, regardless of its origin.

In Unexpected Reunion (Book 1 of Love Inspired’s Southern Blessings series, release date June 2014) Ruthie Chandler was taken under the nurturing wings of Gray Bristow’s grandparents while she was still in her teens.  They called her their “honorary granddaughter,” and the best part of being accepted into their loving unit was meeting and falling in love with their handsome grandson.  Later she became engaged to Gray, which would have solidified her place among the Bristows, but when a crisis of faith while serving in Afghanistan caused him to break their engagement, the family dynamics changed for the worse.  However, after he returns from his military duty, it’s ultimately a family problem that brings the couple back together, and they end up adding to their extended clan in a way none of them ever anticipated.

What is the most unique family situation you’ve either known or been a part of?

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Carolyn Greene’s family consists of a retired-fire-chief husband, a son who’s studying for his Ph.D., a schoolteacher daughter, a son-in-law, and a brand new granddaughter.  And let’s not forget the two hyperactive miniature pinschers who crowd into her chair while she writes.  Carolyn writes romance novels for Love Inspired and mysteries for Guideposts Books.

14 comments:

Sandra Orchard said...

Oooh, you hooked me. Now I can't wait to find out what happens. I know a fellow who took the Brady Bunch family one step further. When his second parent died, his new mom who'd also been widowed with kids of her own remarried. So neither of his current parents are blood related, but like you, no one calls anyone step or half. It was a few years before I knew his parents weren't his biological parents!

Christine Johnson said...

Congratulations on the new book, Carolyn! It sounds great. I grew up loving the Brady Bunch even though I come from a traditional family. I had enough tussles with one brother and one sister that the idea of many brothers and sisters fascinated me. Since cleaning always ranked super low on my to-do list, I sure would have liked an Alice, LOL. I guess learning to do all those chores came in handy later in life, though.

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Carolyn, around my house, we're one big blended family. And like you said, there are no steps or halves about it. We're just family.

Love the premise of this story and can't wait to read it.

Carolyn Greene said...

Sandra, that kind of family mashup is one I've been considering writing for a future book. I love the big, open hearts of your friends who took in the boy who needed a family.

Christine, we sure had our share of tussles. And my brothers did the boy-thing of acting incompetent when it came to doing household chores, so I ended up having to go behind them and clean up the messes they made while "cleaning." :-)

Mindy, my youngest brother was about 7 or 8 before he learned that not all of us share the same blood. We hadn't kept the information from him ... it was just that no one thought to mention it.

Dana Mentink said...

You know, I used to have a very traditional concept of what family meant until I started teaching. Then I saw all kinds of arrangements and I decided that as long as you're with people who love you and help you get through this world into the next, you've got yourself a family!

Louise M. Gouge said...

When our son-in-law died, my husband and I opened our home to our daughter and two grandchildren. Empty nesters for a while, we're now a family of five. And we're loving it!

Carolyn Greene said...

Dana, exactly! Love is what makes a family.

Carolyn Greene said...

Louise, my condolences on the loss of your son-in-law. Nothing will ever fill the void he left behind, but your daughter and grandchildren are blessed to have family to fall back on.

Leann Harris said...

Carolyn, the book sounds great. When I was growing up, there was a large Irish family across the street that adopted our family. The first time the mom fixed us a green meal on St. Patrick's Day--green home-made bread, green butter, green mashed potatoes, green jello and cake, it became a wonderful tradition.

Carolyn Greene said...

Leann, I love that story. St. Patrick's Day must be extra special for you because of that wonderful family.

I just remembered another type of unique family that always captures my attention: Animals that befriend or adopt creatures of other species. My heart goes melty every time I see a video of them cuddling up together.

barb phinney said...

I know a family that have many foster children and it's always just 'family, brothers and sisters'. Mine was an ordinary family, but after my parents died, my good friend, Murielle, took me under her wing and called me her foster daughter. I can't imagine what I would have been like without her wisdom and love.

Missy Tippens said...

Carolyn, what a great story! I can't wait to read your book. I also love how you and your siblings just called each other sisters and brothers. :)

Pamela Tracy said...

I was raised in a traditional family. Two parents and me.

But, I was adopted. Later I found a half sister and full brother.

I'm back in my traditional family. One husband and one kid.

Carolyn Greene said...

Barb - I'm convinced everyone needs a Murielle in their life.

Missy - Our parents never referred to us as steps/halves, either. Their friends and co-workers of many years had no idea ours was a blended family. They just knew that the Weatherfords had a lot of kids. :-)

Pamela - God bless you and all of your family.