“We can’t stay for choir practice because we have family visiting,” K explained to the choir director this morning after Mass. As the dedication of the new church is only weeks away now, after-Mass choir practice has really ramped up. But today, we decided L could miss it. Because of family.
Of course, M and her daughters are not related to us in any other sense beyond her being E’s godmother and sharing the same adventure as K of being a Pole in America. But they’re still family. We spend holidays together; we know (or rather, K and M know) rather intimate details about each others’ lives; we’ve shared the same struggles at times.
You choose your friends; you don’t choose your family. It’s a truism that gets both sides of the equation right and wrong: because you don’t choose your family, it can be more difficult to love them and more important. (Note: such is not the case here.) Because you choose your friends, the relationships are more valuable and more fragile. That’s why close friends and family blurry the lines: these relationships have both elements.
So time with this kind of family is precious: E gains two more sisters for a weekend, and L gains siblings more her age. And because they’re more like family than friends, there’s no compunction in telling L that she’s being a pain in the back side (which she can be) or telling E that he’s got to share his new siblings (which is is reluctant to do).