What is family?

I’m a mother and a grandparent, and I dearly love my daughter and two grandchildren.

But, the question I pose to you today is can individuals only be family through biology or marriage?

Based upon experience, my thought is that people who care about you through love and concern can be family.

We met a wonderful couple while camping last year. Let’s face it, when I knocked on their trailer door and asked for help and they both came out with a smile, I knew I had met some nice folks.

Since that time, we have camped together, visited together, and learned together. And, during all of those encounters, they have come to care about and love my two grandchildren and the feeling is mutual.

So, what really makes people family? I think it is the small things like talking to and not at someone, listening – really listening, spending time with them, and truly caring about their health and well-being.

It is something you recognize when you see it. It is cutting down full size arrows to make them fit a starter bow and taking the time to teach two young children how to use a bow safely.

It is picking berries and apples to give to us because they know we appreciate and enjoy them. It is trading plants – they have blackberries, we have raspberries. It is sometimes bringing syrup or jelly when they visit just because they know my grandson loves it.

Last fall, they lent us sap pails and taught our family how to collect and boil maple sap resulting in delicious maple syrup. But besides all these kind things they have done, most importantly they have taken the time to understand the daily challenges of children living with Type 1 Diabetes and food allergies.

There’s that old saying you can pick your friends but not your family. Well, in this case we beat the odds, because we picked friends that became like family. Our lives are richer because of them.


Grandson (6): I like fishing with my special friend, and I love their delicious jellies they give to us.

Granddaughter (11): Great pair of camping friends – they’re fun.

This post was linked to Family Home and Life Say It Saturday.


About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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10 Responses to What is family?

  1. Very thoughtful and thought provoking post. You are absolutely right. Our elderly neighbours have both suddenly become seriously ill and they have turned to us for support. We see them as close friends but also family so help them willingly.


  2. Joyce says:

    Your story is very heartwarming! It brings to mind the statement that children succeed best when a minimum of seven significant adults are present in their lives. This dear couple is certainly one of the seven your grandchildren enjoy and benefit from!
    In my “grandmother years” I am very aware and appreciative of several of my own “sub-families” that I have nurtured over the years. People just want to be loved and secure among others who care about them. Whose lucky people find each other, THAT’S a family!


  3. Joyce says:

    Oops! edit on previous post: “When those lucky people find each other, THAT’S a family!”


  4. Great question to consider. Sounds like you have definitely added some healthy branches to your family tree, thanks to the kind, thoughtful friends.

    My family is a little, well, funny, I guess you’d say (my extended family, not my hubby and daughters). Considering your initial definition—I think it is the small things like talking to and not at someone, listening – really listening, spending time with them, and truly caring about their health and well-being—then my FRIENDS are more family than my true family, for that definition isn’t what happens with my siblings, unfortunately. But, that’s okay. There are plenty of loving folks out there whom I’ve been happy to add to my “family” of friends.

    Great post. ♥


  5. Debra Pugh says:

    It is wonderful when close friends are close enough to become family …you all are very lucky to have each other 🙂


  6. Grandma Kc says:

    Wonderful post! I have had a lot of immediate family that I certainly would not consider to be my friends. I’ve had a lot of friends who I consider to be much more than family. I also have some awesome family members so maybe the label just isn’t that important.


  7. Sally Kabak says:

    I agree with Grandma Kc. Have a family member in the same city that we live & we never see her such ashame when her boys are a little older than Lucy. A family member doesn’t have to be related it is someone that is there for you when things get tough. A shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, someone who loves you and accepts you as you are faults and all.


  8. That was really sweet. It really is a blessing to find others you ‘mesh’ with.


  9. Connie says:

    I agree completely- friends can be family too. Some of mine have 🙂 Thanks for linking at Grandparent’s Say It Saturday!


  10. rivardfarm says:

    I agree, family can be someone other then a relative. When someone treats you with kindness and respect, is there for you in good times and difficult times then they are certainly more then just a friend.


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