Richard Bach wrote, in Illusions, about family. "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."
I found Illusions in high school. And many of the quotes from the book stuck with me. This one was one of the important ones.
As someone who often felt out of place in my family growing up, I often let my mind wander to my first mom.
When I got to college, the quote took on a different meaning for me. I found a group of friends that became my family. That shared my highs and lows. People I had falling outs with, and still managed to find our way back together. Because we belonged together. We are family. In some ways, my third family I guess. In other ways, my most important family. These are the people that knew me the best. That may still know me the best. I still keep in touch with these people. They matter so very much to me.
Respect and joy in each other's life.
As an adoptee, I have sometimes struggled with this quote mightily. I grew up under a roof with people who did not always feel like family, even while I loved them, and they, me. But we lacked that essential bond of respect and joy, it seemed to me. (Or maybe, as a child, I just didn't see it. But I don't think that's it.)
I found it with my college friends. The people I most want to visit, and spend time with. The people I miss terribly when they aren't around.
But there is a bond of blood, too. It's undeniable. Perhaps more so now that I've found that family. That first family. They didn't grow up under the same roof as I did. But they were always with me. They always have been. For good or for bad, they have been with me.
There is the family that "chose" me. (I have problems with that. Big problems. But leave it for now.) There is the family that I chose. And there is the family that no one chose, but it's there nonetheless.
It goes back to what I told a dear friend of mine, long since departed from this earth: "Home is where, when you go there, they want to take you in."