Like so many, I have always struggled with the concept of family and that historical bond that is said to connect people together and give them some sense of pride and bonding. Yet in my own history I’ve seen blood family have little more to do with each other than passing strangers or childhood friends, such connections were not part of my world. Blood connections were there, but not a bond. Those ties could be severed as easily as one might unfriend someone on Facebook, sometimes done in person but mostly done through nasty letters.
Yet my desire to have a true connection with people in my life has led me to creating a network of close friends who are as much my family as one would think of.
I have sisters who I turn to for advice and in turn ask me for mine. Women who have brought me great joy and make me laugh at my own silliness. They taught me how to trust other women and how having that special female friendship can meet a need that we as women seem to have. A way to vent out our fears, anger, and yet not ask for it to be resolved for us, but for someone to empathize and validate us, women meet those needs for each other when our mates might have a difficult time.
Then there are those men who will always be like my brothers. They make me laugh, they drive me crazy, and most of all they know exactly when I just need them to threaten to beat up my bullies.
There are others though that fall into a category that I haven’t an explanation for. Exceptional people in my life that no matter how long I stray will always be there for me when I ask will always be in my heart and have a special connection. Though our lives take us in different directions we find a way to always keep in contact and never lose one another. Sometimes it’s just a quick letter, a phone call to check in, or a wave as you pass each other in the hall. And other times we find time, make time, work our lives to sit for a few hours and drink in the trueness of our friendship. It makes us family, it makes us kindred and we know its importance.
Today I sit thankful for finally understanding that I belong to a unique family of those I have bonded with and made sacred. For there are some that have no such bonds, who separate themselves and won’t dare to take the leaps of faith that it takes to give a part of yourself to a new friend. Blood, genetics, and time do not make a family, well.. not for me.
( This was originally posted Jul 30, 2012 a month before I lost my “Brother” Lance in the photo to a motorcycle accident. His death launched a huge moment of rethinking what I really wanted from this blog. I needed a place to really come to write and think out my grief. He was a great inspiration in both life and death and I am eternally thankful for his love and advice. )