Family . . . I love my family because they are my family. Most of us do not have common interests, common friends, common values, etc. A lot of us really don't even really know each other. I can honestly say that I would not call many of them friends, but we are family and have been put together as a grouping of people.
Here they are:
Siblings: I have 3 brothers (Jeff, John, and Mike). I love them, but don't really know them. I grew up with Jeff, yet he is like a stranger to me. John and Mike are much younger than me. They have a different mother than I do. Oddly, I find that I have a lot in common with and tend to gravitate toward John. I have one sister (Jen). I grew up with Jen too. I love her because she is my sister, but I do not call her friend. I also know, because of my father's escapades that there are at least 2 more out there that I do not know at all.
Parents: My mom is one of my best friends and I turn to her often. Burryl, my step father, has been around for over 25 years. He's a decent man. He has no living children of his own. He has always considered me to be one of his and my kids call him grandpa. My dad, John, is deceased. He died nearly 4 years ago in my arms. Honestly, I would not call him a decent man. As a matter of fact, he was a son of a bitch, but he was / is my dad and I love him.
Grandparents: My mom's folks are Charles and Shirley. Grandpa died in 1979. I have him to thank for the diabetic gene. I was 12 when Grandpa died. I didn't know him very well. I don't remember a lot about him. Grandma is still living at the ripe age of 86. She lives next door to me in an apartment building. I call "Grams" a friend. It is hard watching her get old and losing some skills and some cognition, but she has aged gracefully and lived a good life. My dad's parents are Norm and Mary. Grandma died in 1976 and grandpa in 1980. I have very vague memories of grandpa and none of grandma. I recognize them in pictures, but it ends there. As children, we did not go to their house very often which was my fathers preference. Burryls folks are Hank and Lucy. Hank died a very long time ago, long before Burryl came into our family. Lucy died a few years ago. I don't remember exactly when, but I was blessed with a lot of years of calling her Grandma Lucy.
Aunts/Uncles/Cousins: My mom has one brother. I have 3 first cousins (Jodi, Jerry, and Jeannette). There is a whole story behind that alone. Long story short, 2 of the cousins are results of their mothers affairs while they were married to my uncle. It is also rumored that the 3rd cousin is also not his, but nothing has been proven. I am on friendly, yet very limited terms with 2 of the 3 cousins. The other lives half a country away and I dont really know her. My dad has 7 sisters. There are 23 first cousins. I know all of their names and that is about it. Actually I know more than that, but very little. Facebook has helped me to reconnect with some of them and that has been good, but I do not carry on conversations with them and we are only connected because we are related. The closest that I am with any of them would be with my Aunt Marty, dad's oldest sister. We were medical guardians for my dad, so prior to my dads death, when decisions had to be made, we did a lot of talking. Since dads death our communication has gone back to where it was before, non existent. I have also had very close connections to my Aunt Bonnie. She is sister #4. I grew up for a lot of years on a farm a mile from my aunt Bonnies. After my folks divorced, when I was 12, there was not a lot of contact until I was a senior in high school. Aunt Bonnie helped me to apply and get into college. We have had sporadic contact over the years. She was with me when dad died and we had a great reconnection, however, just like Aunt Marty, contact has gone back to almost non existent. Bonnie had 5 kids, and I knew the oldest 3 the best. There really is no contact with any of them now, except my cousin Jill. I think we have some common interests and she is a very interesting person.
I could go on and on with step parents (there have been a few), step brothers, step sisters, step cousins, second cousins, third cousins, great aunts, great uncles, and so on, and so on. Soon, we'd have to get into the 6 degrees of separation or some one might even try to take us back to Adam and Eve (which I don't buy). So . . . we'll just leave it here . . . family, in the literal sense of the word.