In our previous article we talked about how estrangement affects children and parents. What do our families look like? What do they become? Good friends become our families -- the families we choose.
Families have a common bond. With genetics, the bond is the same parents and the same culture and traditions. A bond, however, can happen with a common experience or life choice. Soldiers who serve together have a brotherhood. Fire departments have the same kind of bond. It all goes back to how we survive -- in communities with a bond.
It is so hard to be away from your children and especially as they marry and start their own nuclear families. We are a mobile society, changing locations for our careers and economic opportunities. This may put a great geographical distance between us. As humans, however, we crave that close-knit community -- family.
Creating friendships later in life is an important part of having our own social circle -- our local families. We do this with shared interests and hobbies. As parents and grandparents, it’s important for us to nurture our own friendships. It’s healthy and normal for us to be independent.
“Consider participating in groups, both virtual and in person, where you're likely to meet others who share your values, interests, lifestyle and experiences. Support groups, clubs, online forums and church groups are good places to start.” AARP
Whether we think of the Golden Girls or Anne of Green Gables, as people, we find commonalities, bonds, and deep friendship with our good friends. They become the families that we choose. We help them when they’re sick and they do the same. We have brunch (when it’s not a pandemic) and laugh over the phone at the cutest thing our grandson just did.
Our good friends don’t replace our biological families but they’re sure nice to have. Who says you can’t have more than one family anyway?