I remember when I took Sociology in high school and we were study the chapter on family structures. According to that text the most dominate family structure was the Nuclear Family (A mom, A dad, and the kids) then there was the extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. I don’t recall any definition about a family structure of friends and relatives. Today’s society has reshaped the family structure and the modern family is much more than just the nuclear and extended family anymore…It is the social group that you choose to spend time with. Plus you have the added change in society with more divorces, more domestic partnerships, and even more children who choose not to marry. These factors can totally change the dynamic of the family structure, I feel.
Thanksgiving is always a time when these factors become most clear, since so many people drag themselves across the country to spend three days with people they don’t even like all because “IT IS WHAT YOU DO” because Thanksgiving is about being with family and being thankful. Then when you return home exhaustion sets in, and you go to work to complain about someone who was annoying the weekend. Although do be honest I don’t get it why do that if you don’t like it? Not every holiday has to attempt at the being a Norman Rockwell holiday painting. Frankly I think that is impossible anyway.
In my case it is more about who I choose to spend time with than who I am related to. Given that I live 3,000 miles away from most of my family I have had to create my family where I live. I love my family here in North Carolina just as much as I love my dad, step-mom, step siblings, and cousins back in Washington. I still think that Generation X perhaps created the growth of the Modern Family, so many of us truly believe that life is too short to live in halves and if there are relatives we don’t like to spend time with, well we don’t, some of us even choose to erase their existence from our lives. I mean why keep in touch with a person who constantly degrading you for your choices in life? You wouldn’t support a friendship with a non relative for that kind of behavior, so why are siblings any different? My family here in North Carolina love me, guide me, entertain me and I do the same for them. I might be more entertaining than I am wise, but it works for us.