Families don't look like they used to. And these heartwarming stories prove that's a great thing.
This time of year is all about family.
The one you were raised in, the one you chose for yourself, or the one that chose you. There's nothing better than spending time with the people you love, especially when you're surrounded by twinkling lights, rich desserts, and so. many. hugs.
But the best part of family? There's no wrong way to do it.
This heartwarming video from Tylenol's #HowWeFamily campaign is a 60-second reminder that families come in all different sizes, complete with parents, aunts, cousins, stepbrothers, friends, and more.
Trust and believe, your heart is about to grow three sizes today.
(And if you're ready to go full-feels, just scroll down for a closer look at a few ordinary families with extraordinary stories.)
Family is an action word. It's a commitment to make time, and to care for one another.
The McKennas live that every day. For 17 years, stay-at-home dad Richard has managed the day-to-day whirlwind that comes with raising five children.
"It really doesn't matter who it is that's parenting you," said Mrs. McKenna. "It's a matter of love and care and concern."
Being part of a family takes patience, sacrifice, and hard work.
Like the Butlers, two parents in the armed forces who made the difficult decision to deploy at the same time, leaving their young son with his four grandparents for a full year.
While the time away was tough, the Butler children now benefit from close relationships with their six loving parents.
Not to mention a strong foundation of love and trust.
Take Lizzie Vincent, who became a mom to her nephew after her sister and brother-in-law passed away. She used cookie baking and storytelling to spark a lasting connection.
Family is home. It's where you find your place and learn what makes you you.
Like the Ekehs, who moved from Nigeria to New York a decade ago to provide their sons with new opportunities.
One son, Harold, was accepted to 13 universities last spring — including all eight Ivy League schools! But he remains humbled, driven, and filled with gratitude for his family.
"I describe my family as a body. My parents are the brain and the heart. And my brothers, we're like the hands and the feet. We all have our different functions, but we all come together to accomplish one goal."
Yes, family is all of this. But it's also fun.
Seriously, so much fun.
Every family is different and has a unique story to tell.
The American family landscape has changed dramatically throughout the course of history, but never as fast and as furious as in recent years.
These shifts are creating diverse, blended, and nontraditional families (if there ever was a tradition to begin with).
For example, in 2014, the U.S. birthrate declined for the sixth year in a row. And the number of grandparents living with or serving as primary caregivers for their own grandchildren jumped 22% from 2000 to 2011.
Cultural and political shifts have brought changes too. A 2013 report revealed 17% of same-sex couples are raising children. And same-sex couple parents and their children are more likely to be people of color or ethnic minorities.
So this season, and throughout the year, show your family some love.
Whether you came to your clan by birth, marriage, adoption, or serendipity, embrace the people you call home and take in every magical moment.