The Greater Family

The Greater Family

- in Parenting

You are born into one family. In my case, that included my mom, dad and two older brothers. That is my “first” family. My dad was kind. My mother is smart. My oldest brother is resourceful. My middle brother is artistically talented. These people were the first family to make an impact on my life. Through them I have learned to be caring, clever, capable and creative.

When I met my husband, Adam, I remember thinking that he would make a great addition to my family. In the almost eight years of knowing him, he has made a tremendous impact on my life. He is incredibly intelligent (to my own frustration, the guy is always right). I have learned from him to be thorough and accurate. He is more generous than anyone I know and has taught me so much about giving to others. I looked for and found someone that would make sense as an addition to “my family,” but it didn’t really dawn on me until we got married that with him, I would be creating an entirely new family separate of my first family.

He and I became a new family and that family grew larger when we had our two children. While my “first family” is still present and impactful in my life, I have a new job as a mother to nurture and care for my “own family.” The qualities I’ve taken on from my first family and my new family will be carried on to my children.

Marrying my husband also presented an opportunity for me to gain another family in my life. His family, my in-laws, have also made an enormous impact on my life. My father-in-law, Jim, is supportive. He has always treated me like his own daughter. My mother-in-law, Nancy, is compassionate. She has taught me to help others that need it the most. My brother-in-law, Jason, is a hard worker. I see from him what dedication truly means. This family is well known in our community. They own and operate the largest funeral home in Lake County (Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center). While many would claim the compassion and care they have for serving families in need is how they built their reputation, I would argue that it is their work outside the funeral home doors that is the most impactful on the world around us. The Brunner, Sanden and Deitrick families make our community a better place. The amount of support they give to local nonprofit organizations and the time they spend volunteering is amazing. I believe that their efforts positively influence this community that we live in, the community known as our greater family.

The Brunner, Sanden and Deitrick families just donated $2.5 million to Lake Health Foundation, which was noted as the largest donation the organization has ever received. This tremendous act of generosity will help expand Lake Health programs and services, including those surrounding the betterment of community health and well-being. It was a noble gesture made by families who take care of people to an organization that takes care of people. In recognition of this gift, the new Mentor Wellness Campus, which includes an urgent care center, physician offices and fitness center was renamed Lake Health Brunner Sanden Deitrick Wellness Campus. I’ve been using this facility since it opened (for several ear infection urgent care trips for my kids and more regularly now for the fitness center) and I can tell you that this building and everything in it is a genuine asset in our community. I feel honored to be a part of this family that has the ability to make a large impact on the community in which we live and I’m proud to be raising my children in this greater family we call Lake County.

About the author

Hi! I'm Reneé Sanden and I am Cora And Leo's Mom (C.A.L.M in CLE). I stay at home with my toddler and baby but I rarely ever "stay home" as we are always visiting some kid-friendly event or location in the area. I married an incredible man (Adam) and we share a pretty amazing life together. When my kids are sleeping I like to drink good Cabernet, play three card poker at the casino and stare at my kids on the video monitor app on my phone. My life has changed in major ways since having kids that are 17 months apart but I couldn't possibly be any happier. I know as Moms we are supposed to say that, but I mean it. I don’t miss my old life. Except for maybe the vodka. And the sleep. Other than that, I’m good.

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