I've had a strange evolution of how I view the differences between family and friends*.
For awhile, I thought that friends were the replacement for family.
Before that, I thought friends were there when you had extra time leftover from your family (when I was little, before I could manage my own time).
Now, I am in a place where I have this perfect balance of understanding the difference.
In my case, there is not much of one.
I have been thinking back to the holidays and how I spent each one. It was this wonderful blend of family and friends helping each other celebrate.
On Christmas Eve, after seeing the in-laws in the morning, my best friend and her beau (also a really close friend) came over to exchange presents (I gave her a stuffed appendix, like a stuffed animal, but it was an appendix...) and watch Whimzy open her presents. Then, they helped "Santa" set up for the morning. After Santa Christmas morning, I got to go spend the day with my family. My Dad, my aunt and uncle, my little sis/cousin, my adopted-ish little cousin/sister (I don't know how else to describe Kelsey, because it gets so convoluted. So, basically, she is my little sis/cousin's best friend/sisterish who occasionally lives at my aunt and uncle's. So, yeah, I did just describe it. See? The lines are blurred between friends and family), and of course, my wonderful husband and daughter. My aunt even made mashed potatoes especially for me because I was so sad that we didn't have any at Thanksgiving. Also, me and my dad basically exchanged slow cookers. I bought him one, and he bought me one. It was pretty epic.
New Year's Eve was spent with close friends and it involved a light saber, a Little Mermaid band, and book discussions.
It was perfect. Whimzy had a playmate in my friend's daughter, Ty and I had a wonderful time with friends, and it was a night that I will not soon forget. Seriously, there was a 7 year old girl with a light saber battling my 3 year old daughter who had the box the light saber came in, and there is video proof of the band. I got to play the bongos. Just saying... One of my closest friends bought me a Christmas present that I absolutely love, but neither of us has any idea of what it is. It is like a sparkly, glass ball that looks like it was broken and glued back together. No idea of its purpose, and neither does she, but she saw it and thought of me. She was completely right. It is very mermaid-y, and mermaid-y things were on my Christmas list this year. Also, after New Year's, I did another present exchange and I got a Doctor Who scarf and phone case. Basically, everybody knows me very well ;)
The people that are consistently in my life right now have high-bred status of friends/family. I'd like to think that I can go to my family like I would friends about random things and discuss what is on my mind. I'd also like to think that my friends are as close to me as if we were blood-related. Both categories, friends and family, have proved to me over and over that I am extremely lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
Even the family and friends that I do not get to see as often as I'd like, I know that with one call they will be there, or even just listen to me gush about my new bookcase and that recipe that I tried.
Whimzy is going to be surrounded by wonderful people as she grows up, with a variety of personalities and talents. I hope she takes the best away with her when she makes decisions and looks back at her life.
This realization has been a long time coming. It has taken a lot of hard times, late night phone calls, car breakdowns, and learning from my mistakes to get to this point. And damn, I am so glad that I was so confused for so long, because I really, really appreciate the non-difference now.
Also, I get to combine my in-laws, good friends, and my family with a time-honored tradition in a few weeks. Beer-thirty!! I am ridiculously excited.
*Friends, in this post, are referring to the people who I consider best friends. Not random acquaintances who don't know my favorite color or understand my obsession with socks. These are the people who have seen my vagina at its worse (here's looking at you, Heidi!), will listen to me go on about Doctor Who, and whom my daughter knows by name. It is an exclusive list and I love everyone on it. It also includes a few of Ty's friends who have become my besties, also. But honestly, he mostly steals my friends. ;) One of his groomsmen and our usher both originated from my side of the friendship. Now, they definitely are leaning towards Ty.