Family & Friends: A Delightfully Blurred Line

I once thought there was a distinct boundary line between my family relationships and my relationships with friends. Now, not so much.

Nowadays I have determined my friends can be part of my family, though there is no common blood between us. The boundary line in my mind and heart has blurred so that those once distinct differences are overlapping. My family members have become my friends, rather than obligatory relationships – and my close friends have become more like my family.

My husband and I had a wonderful visit with some long time friends we haven’t seen in ages. It was more than four friends visiting, it was like being “home”. You know, comfortable, intimate, connected, trusting and all those things the comfort of loved ones inspire. They stepped into the role of brother, sister, absent best friends.

I have allowed myself to believe (being the almost youngest member of the clan) that someday I would outlive my immediate family and be left here alone and lonely. We have buried most of the icons I grew up with – those ageless faces whose presence gave me a strong sense of belonging to something bigger than myself…a large extended family.

Our dear old friends filled the empty space that was once occupied by others. God’s grace provided good friends to provide the necessary framework of support, love and belonging that sustain us throughout our lives.

I was doubly blessed to have a day of quality time with two women who bridged the gap between heaven and earth for me standing in as mother figures. Although no one will ever fill the void in my heart that my mom and mothers in- law left, women who are happy to share motherly advice, check on my wellbeing, give support unconditionally, and just “be there” when I need to talk made this Mothers Day less empty.

How grateful I am for the honor of choosing who my “family” will be by selecting those friends who can, and do, step up and walk beside me through my life. Thankfully, that blurred line is now letting me look forward with joy to my old age, rather than resigning myself to a life lived out with no one still living to comfort me with their companionship.

My husband and I speak often of those who have died, or those who are now absent from our day-to–day lives due to living far away from us. We keep their memories alive, and we rehash those great times and our favorite funny stories involving them. We are thankful that we can be the friends others need. Whether we know it or not, we, too, may be filling an empty space to someone in someway.

Whether you  have children, or not, Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful ladies out there inspiring and comforting younger people with your presence in their lives. You matter. I know those “friends” who are my substitute family members matter more to me than they possibly know.