Families take on all shapes and sizes. It’s quite amazing how we actually manage to make it all work, especially when you consider the sayings that you can’t choose your relations or that Friends are Gods apology for relations. Some people consider their Friends their family anyway. What makes us call our Aunty Joan every Friday? What impels us to feign interest about what our cousin Sharon is doing in the Falkland Islands and what is it that possess our brains and mouth to utter the words “Of course your Mother can come to ours for Christmas Dinner, that will be lovely”.
Love is generally thought of as being the main reason or even the only reason for such things to happen. In fact, it might surprise you to find out that some people actually look forward to family gatherings so that they can all bask in the glow of the glue that holds families together. Now this glue is more a metaphor and not literally like the best metal bonding adhesive that you can find.
Families that stick together like a love-based metal bonding adhesive can often be seen embracing one another and they also high five each other when they’ve done something relatively worthwhile. Perhaps it’s a competition or something. Families don’t have to be this big extended thing where you know all your cousins, second cousins and even a maiden Aunt or two (I knew someone who had the ultimate in those, she was a Nun).
It is all a bit Disney to expect that love is the only glue. The glue is probably more of a blend with respect and compromise added to the love element. In fact, the respect part is hard to come by so for the most part it’s just the compromise bit. There is also the fact that with compromise comes negotiation and reward. You know that you’re going to be owed big after agreeing to entertaining the Mother in Law for Christmas.
Families often seem to pull together in times of adversity or sadness, and this is one of the beautiful parts of being a member of a loving family, even if you don’t see one another very often. Families, their make-up and emotional ties have been studied b psychologists for many years and there is still so much that we don’t really understand.