We all have family, we all have relatives, most of us think the two are the same. For Odds especially, this isn’t true. I have a lot of relatives, Aunts, uncles, cousins etc. that aren’t family. I have a lot of family that is no more genetically related to me than belonging to the same species accounts for. I think this probably holds true for most of us, whether Odds or not.
Think about it. We all have that person who is closely related by blood that we have nothing to do with, nor any desire to do so. We have to tolerate them at family reunions or whatever, but wouldn’t cross the street to say Hi to. In this age of Social Media we also have people with no genetic link that we will travel long distances to see. I think we need new terminology to signify this.
I have someone I look forward to seeing every year at the con we both attend. He is important to me, though there is no communication between us outside the con. If I knew he was coming through the area I would travel quite a distance to spend an afternoon with him, but he has no acknowledged relationship to me. Conversely I have blood kin within 20 minutes that I haven’t seen intentionally in decades. Why should the cousin I don’t want to see have a specific relationship while the man I do want to see, and will pick up conversation with where we left off has no status?
Friendship isn’t what I’m talking about either. There are lots of folks in some of my online groups that I don’t particularly like that I will travel to see. Because, no matter how annoying they can be they are the family of my heart. Relatives OTOH we see because we are stuck doing so. I honestly think we may need new words to describe these people.
You see, a good man taught me by example that family isn’t blood. I had something unusual back in the middle of the twentieth century, a stepfather. While “blended families” are common now, they were unusual then. My stepfather taught me that the people of your heart are not necessarily the people of your blood. He raised me as his son and made no difference between me and his son, my half-brother. Oh yeah, there were differences but those were difference of personalities, not love.
Since then I have known that family is of the heart. Many of you, my readers, are family of my heart. Many relatives are not. Very little of it is truly shared interest. The truth is that you are a (insert random geekiness here) nerd and I am not. Many of you are video nerds, I am not even sure who is the Doctor’s companion now. I am a big fan of a particular subset of mysteries, most of you are not cross genre fans. We are still family.
If one of us wants prayer or “good vibes” if comes automatically from the heart. If some of our relatives want the same it comes of duty or not at all. Why should we consider someone genetically related important, while someone with a place in our hearts has no importance and is “just an acquaintance” baffles me.
We just had gay marriage made the law of the land, shouldn’t we be able to make ourselves family bonds and have them recognized too?