When I was a teenager, I had a curfew like all teenagers did. Even in my early 20’s, I had a curfew. Growing up in Malaysia, you didn’t move out of the family home until you got married. My curfew was not a set time, but a call from home, from either my Mom or Dad saying, “Do you know what time it is? It’s too late for a young girl to drive home alone.” That would drive me nuts. I knew how to be careful and to take care of myself, I kept telling them. Looking back, they obviously had my best interest in mind. Despite the little quirks that my family had, I love and miss them. I miss traveling together on road trips to visit relatives during Christmas or my dad insisting on family vacations – I even miss the squabbles with my brother in the car.
While my real family is many miles and oceans apart from me now, I have a great relationship with my best friend who treats me as family. You’ve heard the German proverb, “blood is thicker than water”, meaning that the bonds of family are stronger than the bonds between unrelated people. For the most part, I agree. However, there are exceptions to the rule. My best friend is someone that I consider family and vice versa. Even though she has three blood sisters, I am her honorary sister. She always keeps me in the loop of what’s going on among them and I feel honored to be included in the circle. I’ve even stood in for my best friend at her youngest sister’s graduation recital at Notre Dame a few years ago because she could not make the trip. Both sisters were grateful that I went and I was very happy to be there.
You too may have friends who consider you part of their family. Be grateful for that. It may not be the same as the relationship you have with your own family, but it’s definitely what friendship is about. I have relatives I’m not the slightest bit close to. I hardly see them, and in some cases, I’ve never even met. Needless to say, some of my friends are more ‘family’ to me than my relatives ever were. What I’ve learned is that friends can indeed be family; it all boils down to the bond we share.