There have been some issues that have surfaced over the past couple of weeks which have really made me question my understanding of “family.”
Throughout my entire life, I can honestly say that my family members have not been “close.” With the exception of my grandmother, I have not been that close with my family members. My brother and I were as thick as thieves when we were younger, but I never developed that bond with my younger sister – something I have regretted terribly since her passing in 2008. The last time I saw my brother was in 2008 when I visited “family” during an emergency trip intended to allow me to spend the last days of my sister’s life with her. I regret not maintaining a close bond with my brother, but I firmly believe it takes more than just the effort of one individual to form and maintain that bond.
My conviction is that the definition of “family” by today’s standard is nowhere near what “family” represented back when it took everybody to make a household run. Meals were a chance to gather around a table, talk about what was going on, what had happened during the day, and to maintain the bond of togetherness. Today, its a miracle if a dining table even exists in a family home and the consensus seems to be that if you’re bound by genetic material, you’re a “family.” Everybody moves in their own circles, money seems to be the factor by which many family members pick and choose the other members with whom they associate, and rare is the occasion that family members rush to the aid of one another when desperately needed.
Its a sad state of affairs when close friends are more like “family” than your own family. And its a tiring process to have to continuously attempt to measure the importance of blood family members in your life and whether or not they even care to be part OF your life.