Thursday, July 17, 2008

Framily Ties

Brought together by the happenstance of sharing DNA we are pretty much stuck with our blood relatives. Disown, ignore, de-will all you want; family is still family no matter how we try to distance ourselves from certain members. The old adage “blood is thicker than water” was drilled into my head as a child and it was made clear nothing should come between me and my family. As I grew older I began to question this proverb when many friendships matured beyond my familial relationships. There is no denying the bond that exists in families, but the Beatles had it right when they said “we get by with a little help from our friends.”

You can pick your friends, allowing a better shot at liking that person over your predetermined family. Family is forever; not necessarily because you like them, but because it’s easier to shake free of an acquaintance if they piss you off. We are forced to deal with a little bit more with family, find a greater level of compromise and acceptance since holiday dinners would be much more uncomfortable otherwise. Unfortunately, many families operate like you have to like each other, be together, and offer help and support just because of the blood relation. People who treat their families like garbage, or who make little to no effort to be a real part of their lives, and expect the family bond to magically flourish because of some shared genes have little to no understanding of how relationships work. If these people treated their friends like they treated their family they would have no friends. Somehow people expect their family to stick around no matter how ill the relationship.

"Friends are relatives you make for yourself."
- Eustache Deschamps

When the going gets tough it is the people who step up to the plate who are important. Some friends and family alike will show their true colors in times of trouble and strife and disappear faster a cold beer on a hot summer day. It is usually a combination of close friends and family who “have your back” when you need them. Regardless of blood relation or not, these closest of bonds are the people we each want to have in our lives. These are the people who would jump in front of a bullet for you, who take your hysterical calls at three in the morning, who you trust with your most precious thoughts and possessions, who are extensions of your very own being.

There is a certain “sweet spot” in any relationship, blood relation or otherwise, where the lines between family and friends blur; when you like your family like they were your friends and love your friends like they are family. These are the family members who you can talk and laugh with until the wee hours of the morning and the friends whose mothers are almost your own. Friends who you couldn’t imagine leaving out of a family event because in your heart they are family, or the family who you send dirty email jokes to because they will laugh like your friends. Regard of last name or background, these are the people we move mountains for.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
- Walter Winchell

These special people, “framilies” if you will, are much smaller in numbers than the total number of friends and family we have. This shouldn’t discount the rest of our friends and family, those who aren’t “framilies,” who are still very important people. Life, like a good screenplay, has good cast of characters and some play supporting roles to the lead. We all have friends and family who we value, trust, nurture, but are not in the first “ring” around our hearts; our supporting cast. I personally have a pretty big family, and a huge network of friends, and admittedly, I wouldn’t jump in front of a bullet for all of them. They wouldn’t jump in shark infested waters to save my life either and that’s okay. What is important is ensuring that members of our “framilies” are always put above all else when they need us the most, our script ensures they get top billing. I consider myself most blessed and fortunate to have an amazing tapestry of friends and family who can be classified as “framilies;” my mother, sisters, some cousins and aunts, the husband, extended family, friends from grammar school, high school, college, work, and general life. You all know who you are (and it is many more than the number of photos this page could hold).Thank you for being part of my very soul and the stars in my life story.


Claire said...

What a great post!

Coming from a very dysfunctional family, it's amazing that I'm as close to my parents as I am. However, I still keep them at somewhat of a distance, & we do the same with Doug's side. I learned long ago that I don't have to invite them into every aspect of my life or get involved in theirs!

We feel a very strong connection with so many of our friends that we feel like we have indeed built our own family.

Love the pics, by the way.

Steve and Stepher said...

This is truly a brilliant post. How fortunate to have amazing friends and family alike.

All of my family members are dead. Oh sure, I could use euphemisms like "passed-away" but they are really just dead. My Mom in 2002 and my Dad on May 4th. I'm an only child so I'm pretty much it for this world.

One day I'll have to blog about the dif between families and friends but right now isn't a good time. Like Denise Richards - It's Complicated...

Nursedude said...

All I can say is that I must like my brother in law a whole lot to overlook the fact that he is a Packer Fan. Now if my sister had married a Cowboy fan on the other hand....

All of this begs the question: Can a Yankee fan ever belong in a MIXED relationship with a Red Sox fan?

In all seriousness, this was a good post(again)

NeeNee said...

To Nursedude:

I am a Huge Yankee fan and married to a Met fan. That is hard enough. I would die if he was a sox fan, would not have worked.

Though I am sure there are couples out there, but probably in therapy.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

It is hard enough having friends who are Red Sox fans and a brother-in-law who roots for the Mets. Talk about dysfunctional! Somehow I have managed to make room in my heart for these misguided individuals, but I don't know if I could ever marry one. Thankfully I met a Twins fan, not as good as a Yankee fan but quiet endearing.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Clair and Stepher- It is just so true, friends are the family we pick ourselves.