06 March 2010

Family: The Good, the Bad, and the Chosen

Families can be wonderful. Members of your family can come to your rescue in a crisis, or hold your hand when there’s a loss. Maybe you count on your sister to cheer you up when you’re down, or your brother to help you move. Again. Or your cousin to help when your sink explodes water all over your bathroom. Maybe your family is wonderful, close, warm, there for you whenever you want or need them — or even if you don’t.

Mine isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong I love my biological family, but there are only a few I can count on and truly enjoy spending time with. On the other hand, I recently realized I’d been calling a male friend “my brother” and a close female friend I was calling “my sister” and it hit me: I was creating my own family.

The benefit of a chosen family is that, well, they’re chosen. You pick people with whom you feel comfortable, people who understand your quirks, your days of madness, your obsession with creatures of myth and legend. Chosen family members have things in common with you beyond DNA (or adoption papers). These people can be whoever you want in your life. And the terms of relationship is between you and the chosen one.

Let me make clear that having a chosen family doesn’t lessen the position of your “real” one. One of my daughters and I are very close, and my grandchildren are the sunshine that peeks through the dark curtains of a busy life and the depression that sometimes comes with it.

Besides, even if you like and get along with your family, you still might like an extra cousin — in case of bathroom flooding.

Have a great weekend!


No comments: