When I peel back all of the layers of why I’m doing this now, how I made it to this point, what it means to me and what drives me, I arrive at FAMILY.

So many variations, but any connotation is important – for everyone. It provides stability, community, strength, love, tradition, identity.

Whether you look at it from your own family, in your house and what you are creating now, or the one you have come from, extended family and friends, there is no denying that family plays a huge role in our lives.

My family is not a standard one, but it has still been a rock that has provided stable, unconditional love and support for me. It provides a culture and tradition, and everyday normality that I take from, learn and grow with.

My grandparents, Gran and Pa Jack (passed away), are the pillars of our family. Their values and the community that they have created is such a strong one that I now try and emulate this with my own creation in the hope that those values are strengthened and provide the security and base that my girls will need.
Every week, my family including grandparent, (only my Gran now) uncles, aunties, cousins, pets – all gather together for dinner. This has been a tradition for many, many years.

Now, in my hometown, they all still gather together for dinner, sometimes up to 15 people, crowded around Gran’s table, everyone rotating the supply of food, entertaining the young ones, celebrating milestones and just being together. It’s one thing I can always count on when I am in town – seeing everyone at Gran’s and catching up in the lives of my family – always welcomed and loved – no matter what.

Now, in Adelaide, my own small family do this too. We rotate house/ host, and gather every week, with Julesy and Jimmy (my mum and stepdad), and we rotate who does what.
UPDATE in 2017:
This is now of even greater importance to me, since we lost my brother Tim 18 months ago. Our family dinners were so special to us when we were all together. Now we continue them, because it helps us be close to Tim, but also because being close is our strength and a way of supporting each other this this now sacred ritual.
Tim was an amazing cook, and I always tried to keep up with him – his attention to fresh ingredients and trying new things made his meals a treat for us.

Family dinner means we can relax together, catch up, check in on everyone and celebrate the big and small things that are happening in our lives. We are supporting each other, establishing those traditions for the young ones, and marking milestones.

As the children grow up, these are the things that I want them to take away – that family is always there and will always love.