Friends Are the Family You Choose

It all started with these two best friends.
Grammie and Mimi at Andy’s brother Jeff’s wedding.

We’ve all likely heard the phrase, “Friends Are the Family You Choose.” It’s the kind of thing that gets monogrammed, cross-stitched and printed on T-shirts and stuff. It can be one of those phrases we say and don’t think much about and it can also seem a little schmaltzy.

Over the weekend, while at a graduation party I realized that’s exactly what’s happened with our family and my brother-in-law’s family.

For years, well before Lowi and her now-husband were married, our families spent time together. It really started with our mom and Andy’s mom becoming besties long before the term besties was even a thing. Then it was family picnics, Fourth of July fireworks viewings, pool swimming and probably 4-H project showings at the local fair. I have known my brother-in-law, Andy, and all his siblings for decades. We are friends and then about 25 years ago we officially became family. I am sure there’s a marriage license around somewhere to prove that it’s legal and all.

What makes this particularly fun is that we are ALL family. As I mentioned I was at a party on Saturday celebrating the graduation of Abbey and Becca, who are Lowi and Andy’s nieces, also known as Andy’ brother Jason’s kids. (It sounds way more confusing than it is so I will try to keep the family tree explanations to a minimum.)

I had a race earlier in the day and so when I called Lowi to see if it was too late to stop by she said, no it’s just family here now. And true it was, when I got there it was Andy’s mom, siblings, Andy’s Dad, but also my parents, sisters, and nieces. As I sat around a patio table I realized our families have really meshed over the years. We don’t really discern a difference when it comes to functions like this. I am sure we don’t have a monopoly on this or anything but it’s funny how you don’t ever ponder certain relationships in your life, they just are. And then you step back and appreciate the sweet nature of it.

After Lowi and Andy had kids, we all call each other whatever nickname the girls arrived at so forever and always Andy’s mom will be Mimi; our mom is Grammie, of course, I am G to just about everyone and if not, you can tell just how long they have known me if they call me, Angie.

Grandpa Bob (Mimi’s dad) holding Ava (our niece). It’s a long line of love.

These are all people who have either known me all my life or I have known them all of theirs. There is a continuity about it that’s familiar. Even if some of us haven’t seen each other in weeks, months or even years there is a comfortable sense of family about it.

Alex’s high school graduation.
Sydney’s high school graduation.
Aunt Sissy and Aunt Megan on Christmas morning in Colorado.
Aunt Sissy and Aunt Megan at the aquarium with Alex and Sydney.

At the end of the day, we stood around in the driveway and said our farewells, as some of us just live minutes aways, others hours and some states away. We joked that if we stood around longer we’d have to start the hugging departure all over again.

If friends are indeed the family that you choose I guess we should thank Mimi and Grammie for choosing well. We have kept choosing each other for a long time now.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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