Dear “Coco”: I’d Like to Add an Asterisk to Your Message About Family Love

Over the weekend, my hubby and I took our daughter to see the new Pixar movie “Coco.” The whole film was like a sea of Skittles doused in love, realizations, and acceptance — rich in colour and culturally honest while remaining funny and sensitive.

My daughter couldn’t pick a favourite scene because “the whole movie was my favourite!”; I shed one very dramatic tear near the end; and, my husband stayed conscious for the entire thing. In this household, that equates to one awesome animated flick — with one very powerful message:

Family is most important

This message is one that transcends the bounds of this movie, or any movie, for it is woven into our society as stringently as is the notion of free speech.

We’ve all heard the tired, old saying, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t choose your family.”

To this, I have a very un-Disneylike response: Bullshit.

There is no requirement, no law, that dictates you must feel love for your family of origin, or biological family. For many, loving one’s folks is something that comes naturally, but to others, whether it be because of choices, trauma, or differences, that love just isn’t there — nor does it have to be.

There is power in choice

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the message in “Coco” is a bad one — heck, it had me in tears (okay, maybe there were two dramatic tears shed)! It is an important message of unconditional love. What I am saying is, unconditional love can come from and extend to outside the family unit, and when it does, it is just as important as the bond of blood. Arguably, even more so.

My most loving and supportive connections have been with those outside my biological family. Those are the people who have chosen me, and I them. That chosen mutuality is a beautiful, powerful, mysterious thing.

As we grow and transform (a journey without a destination, truly), we learn so much about ourselves, the world, and how we want to spend our existence. We also realize who helps us and who hinders us.

We can choose who we have in our lives, and to what extent. We can choose who we share ourselves with. Family doesn’t have to be a by-default thing.

We can choose our family, and we should.

Coulee Mom


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