Hello again, I've been silent for a bit because I have been extra-ordinarily busy with life and death and such. Which brings me to the subject of family and all the different contexts it may come in. I know in this day and age alot has been written about this subject with blended families, same sex marriages which involve children, and single parent families, etc.. What exactly is a family now anyway? And is it always important to be blood related?
I have an "almost husband", we never married but have been together more than a decade and I naturally consider him to be a part of my family along with my children, grands, etc. We celebrate all the holidays together as a unit and I suppose do everything else that constitutes being a part of a family. We are there for each other. Isn't that the bottom line to family?
But AH is a big proponent of "Blood" relations. He gets concerned with his daughter (my almost step daughter) who calls every close relationship a familial relationship and according to her MySpace page, she has a large assortment of brothers and sisters she goes on to name, when in essence, she has one half-sister and one half-brother. I always thought my "almost husband" (let's refer to him as Papa because that's what the P's call him). Anyway, I thought Papa was sensitive to this because his daughter also has a number of "dads" as well (Papa is the biological dad and then there are the steps whom she all calls Dad).
So blood was important to Papa (until the P's came along). He still refers to them as "my" grandchildren when he is talking to his friends (meaning me, not him), not "our" grandchildren as I would like. But you can't get any closer in a blood relationship to what he has with Perfect and Precious. They have all bonded spendidly and at times Perfect prefers Papa's company to mine, but that's ok, they're boys and I understand they need each other.
Back to the subject though, I don't refer to the almost step-daughter's son as "my" grandchild. Double standard, I suppose? I've never met this new baby and have a tenuous relationship with his mother whom I've never considered a daughter either. So is family more those individuals you bond with?
FS's "Serious Girlfriend" has three children---I've never met these children but they could turn into "bonus" grandchildren one of these days and I have bonded with Serious Girlfriend already and see her as another daughter for me. Right now me and DD are at the beginning stages of bonding with the "bonus grandchildren" by sending birthday presents and yes, they are on the Christmas list for this year. I care about these children I have never met because I care about their mother who is becoming more and more a part of our family.
DD and FS consider Papa as a surrogate father, I believe (I know FS does for certain, he calls Papa asking for advice quite often), but what does he consider himself to be to them? I don't consider myself to be mom to his kids, they are just my "almost step-son and step-daughter", Papa's kids. But then again they both have living moms and my kids do not have a living dad.
Papa recently went to the funeral of his son's grandfather (his ex's father). At first, I thought this unusual but when he was telling me about one of his former brother-in-laws insisting on a hug because "he was family", I thought, well maybe that is still true. He is the father of his son who is a nephew of this brother-in-law so they were related through a former marriage and now this young man connects them by blood. So blood matters in an "ex" sort of way?
(I'm starting to think I need to set up outlines for my posts before I write, because I'm really going on tangents in what I wanted to write about while I am sitting here thinking while I type.)
OK, Blood or No? What's more important? I guess it depends on who you are talking to. I don't have much of an extended family, my brother is probably the only person I will claim today. But when I sit down and start writing Christmas list ideas, I will include his friend, The Professor, whom he lives with. The Professor isn't a relative but he is something in my family. He's spent time at our house, we've gone on trips together, and we communicate fairly often and so he will be included on the Christmas gift list.
The Elders are among those I consider family. I didn't have any sisters but these women couldn't be any closer to having a sister, and actually, I feel close to some of their sisters too; as well as their spouses, parents, and their kids.
In fact, Samtastic's son was dating a girl that works for DD (she is a restaurant manager). Anyway, Samtastic's son Joe (I'll explain that one later, Sam!!---think 3 Stooges) came to the restaurant one day and asked for DD, explaining to the hostess he was family. DD comes out and they chat for a while and he leaves. The hostess is dumbfounded because DD and Joe look nothing alike, complete opposites, definitely not members of the same family and she asked DD about that, and DD just said yeah, he's a cousin and went on her way. She said that was easier than giving the official explanation of what Joe is to her.
So in my family I don't think Blood is the important variable to having family. We have all our friends and their families, roommates, serious relationships, almost steps, ex's, etc. on our family list and sometimes it's just simplier to say they are family rather than try to explain what they are to us. They are just loved in some way which makes them connected to us.