Had a nice long talk tonight with a “cousin” of mine; I put the word in quotes because we’re not blood relations—28 years ago she married one of my cousins, and thus became a part of my family. But in my little corner of the world, once you’re family you’re always family. If a part of my family takes you in, you’re family. In fact, if you’re just friends long enough, you become family. And family is forever. Period.
Doesn’t matter what you do (or don’t do); we’re not the kind that will abandon you. Family isn’t governed by rules of behavior, location, or even legal ties. We may not approve your choices or situation, and we may even say as much, but it doesn’t stop us from loving you. We may lose touch, but all it ever takes to come back is to make contact.
There has always been divorce, death, remarriage, and adoption on my dad’s side of the family, and it seems that rather than a trade-out, it just multiplies the family. When I was a kid, I had just as much fun with the cousins who were adopted by my uncles as I did with the ones who were born into the family. My mom’s family doesn’t seem to be as much that way, but my mom is and my grandmother was, and that’s how I was raised. As a result, the people I consider family has ended up being a crazy quilt of originals, replacements, extensions, additions, and leftovers. It wouldn’t be as beautiful or as meaningful if it wasn’t.