A favorite author of mine, Richard Bach, has two quotes I really do love. They're from Illusions, a book I read in high school, and have bought more than half a dozen times. Why? Because it affected me so much that I have given it as a gift, several times, to important people in my life, people who may have needed to read it then, too.
Here they are:
"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."and
"Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years."
Why these quotes? No, I'm not using blogger to bash my family. I am, however, saying that family often includes people who aren't related to you at all. These people will stand by you, and love you, and be your friends/family, even when you mess up. And I don't mean in an avoidance/enabler sort of way... I mean they still love you because they know who you are, and because they care about you.
If you screw up, will they tell you? You betchya.
They might even say 'Told you so.' But most of them won't.
I remember when I was a really young kid, I was playing around with the dishes in the sink. (Maybe I was rinsing them. Probably I was just messing around) I started playing with a can that had been opened and emptied. I distinctly remember my mom saying "don't play with that, it's sharp." I distinctly remember thinking "hah, whatever. No it's not." Then I split my finger open on the edge of the lid. Totally had that one coming.
There are a lot of stories like that, actually, where I didn't listen to Mom's advice and ended up getting hurt. Hm.
Anyway, over the last ten years, I've come to realize that family is very important to me. It's played a role in my closest relationships. I am extremely grateful for the wonderful, special people in my life, some of which are related to me, some of which are not. I'm glad to share interests with them, spend time with them, and know them. I'm also glad that they tell me when I'm being an idiot, since sometimes I can't see it. There's nothing like the honest perspective of a friend... or Mom... when life throws a curveball or two and I forget to duck.