Sunday, April 8

Family, Gotta Love 'em ... I Suppose

I'll start this blog entry by saying, very sincerely, that I have a wonderfully close and caring family. I'm very lucky in this respect. I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea, that I might not appreciate how blessed I am. I do know. Honest.

But nobody has the power to make me crazy faster. And nobody else thinks they have a God given right to do so. Why is that? Why is it that the people who love you most seem determined to send you to the funny farm? I sometimes find myself wishing for a nice dysfunctional family that ignored each other. Okay, not really. *sigh* Its just a little fantasy I indulge in once in a while.

I was having a conversation with my mom, with whom I really do have a great relationship - she's the best - and we were talking about how mom is still friends with girls she knew when she was a kid. I mean they've been friends for more than 50 years, how cool is that? Well I don't have 50 year friendships, mostly because I'm not 50 yet; but I do have one really tight 25+ years friendship. Maybe its been 28? I've lost count. And I have in the last few years collected a few more friendships of the type I really hope will last a good long time. You can never tell about that.

So talking to mom about her friends and talking about my friends, old and new, and I realized that a close family relationship is important but the person who doesn't have other good people in their life is the person who is really missing out on something. Because as great as family is, well they all have too much emotional baggage invested of their own. And family feels way too comfortable with their status so they feel free to be annoying. Plus which having known you your whole life they think they know you when in reality they know you just well enough to punch your buttons.

But friends ... friends care just enough to listen without telling you what to do. Or just enough to know when you need to not talk. The best situation is to have many different friends, to varying degrees. That way you aren't dumping too much on one person all the time. That's important. Because unlike family your friends are there by choice so they are relationships you have to be careful not to take for granted.

But I do love my family. I just need my little fantasy once in a while.


Mary said...

I sometimes think that family are the people who know you best from the outside in, while friends are the ones who know you from the inside out. But I come from a large family of loners.
At the other extreme, I have a sister-in-law who comes from a large family that's so tight-knit that they're each others' best friends. I used to envy that, but now I'm starting to wonder if it's not a bit claustrophobic. They spend all of their time with each other. None of these people is really open to meeting new people, experiencing new points of view. Please don't take this out of context, I've always found them kind and courteous. (I realize the above makes them sound like inbred _____, (hillbillies? rednecks? insert stereotype here) when in reality they're fresh-off-the-boat Swedish aristocracy.) It's just that even when your family is wonderful, it's good to be open to new people and new ideas.

McB said...

Mary, I have to agree with you. And may I say how nice it is to be seeing you away from the Island of Tsk again?

People are like travel - they broaden your mind. Even the less than wonderful ones can give you a different perspective.

Margaret said...

Ah, yes, family. Can't live with 'em. . . . (Oh, is there more to that?)