Yesterday, after school, I was hanging out with a colleague for a little while. We were talking about my blog (believe it or not, she actually brought it up first). I told her a story about when I had reblogged a post from one of my favorite bloggers, which is hysterical, and later another friend of mine told me it was the best and funniest blog post I had ever written and she was sharing it with her friends.
In typical Barb Knowles style, I’m making this story a little longer than it needs to be. AT ANY RATE, when my colleague read Paul’s blog, she saw his profile picture and said “Is he your son? He looks just like you.”
I fell out. Paul is from Canada, I’m from the US. If we did our DNA our ancestors would be from different parts of Europe. But he does have black hair, as I did. And he’s around the age of my kids.
But the point, I think, is that I know him pretty well now and think of him as my “blog son” (somehow, as happens sometimes, this is becoming Barb’s blog featuring Paul). Which made her laugh out loud.
maybe I’m actually getting to the point, our conversation became how charged the word family is. Is Paul my family? No. But I interact with him more than with some of my nieces and nephews and I never hesitate to give him unsolicited advice as I do with my own children.
Many of my students are like family members and I still have contact with parents of students of mine who graduated long ago. Are we social friends? No. But we share a bond.
What makes a family? As I do our genealogy, I’m drawn to these ancestors of mine. “Blood is thicker than water” is an expression for a reason. But there are many people in my life, as I’m sure there are in your life, with whom we share a familial relationship.
Acquaintance: Have you met my sister so-and-so?
Me: I didn’t know you had a sister!
Acquaintance: Oh she’s not my real sister, but she’s like a sister.
Family is defined as a blood, DNA, biological bond as well as a personal, tight bond of affection.
My colleague thought Paul was my son, and that we look alike, because of the way I spoke about him. And yes, he has black hair, but he does not have my smile. Well, maybe he does a little.
I have no biological sisters, although I used to beg my mother for an older sister. I do, however, have friends who are like sisters to me. And, actually, we probably get along much better than biological sisters because we don’t carry the emotional crap from a shared childhood.
So what makes a family? Love, friendship, support during good and bad times and knowing that the other person will always be there for you and you for them. That is found biologically and socially.
And, sometimes, seen through warm words while looking at a picture.