Coca-Cola has its closely guarded classic formula. KFC has its 11 herbs and spices. My Grandma’s famous noodles are made without a written recipe. Each one has created a long-lasting legacy based on “the secret ingredient.” The magic that holds it together… the one thing you can’t do without. But what’s the secret ingredient that holds a family together? Love? Loyalty? Commitment? The mix surely includes all of these things… but in my opinion, the greatest is love.
Our family just said goodbye to a cornerstone of unconditional love, my grandmother Kathrine Glisan. For over 90 years, she exemplified a kind of love that’s hard to find anywhere else:
– A hard-working farm wife who made clothes for her kids and never let them feel they were poor.
– A rare combination of tough and gentle that you had to experience first-hand to understand.
– A generous soul who always helped others first, and understood that a sense of humor would help you make friends.
– An optimist who always believed in a better day coming tomorrow.
I’m very sad to see her go, but I celebrate what she put in motion. The unconditional love she showed to her children is the secret ingredient, and it has already been passed down to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The good news about our family is you don’t even have to be born into the bloodline to benefit. You can marry into it, be adopted into it, or just be a friend who’s lucky enough to tag along at a reunion.
There are plenty of things that can pull a family apart: tragic accidents, financial pressures, clashes over control, and personal pride. But if you’ve got the secret ingredient, the family stays intact. It may be measured in different amounts and demonstrated in different ways, but love is the foundation for the family that stays together. If you look around at your extended family and see a love vacuum, why not fill it? Maybe it’s time you reached out to a family member you lost touch with, or resolved a grudge that’s gone on way too long? All you have to do to achieve unconditional love… is to remove the conditions.
I celebrate the secret ingredient in my family, and hope that you find it in yours too. It really is the one thing you shouldn’t do without.