We make or pick our friends through life’s journey, quickly at first and then more warily as experience takes the first blush off our innocence. Moving around we lose a few and make some more to compensate but are always in control, at least a little bit, at least we think we are. Some strike the deepest cord and stay with us for many years or maybe the whole voyage, enriching our experience of the world, and sharing joys and disasters throughout our lives.
Family is different of course, we all know that. Within them we make friends and that is good but in the main they view our progress without romance. “He’s a great success or failure” is always weighed against the memory that he stole your ball when young, or never bought you presents when he might. We look past the career to the silent meanness, or wonder at their ability to find the laugh. Stand in judgement in ways we never do when assessing those we chose as friends ourselves.
When young we rush away to make connections of our own. “They are my family now” I have heard when older teens talk of their friends. From them they get validation they seek and are born anew with each new friend they make. With time the situation is reversed. The world around us grows slowly more complex, and plans are made which never quite come off. So we retreat and assess our lives again.
Those family members we rushed from when still young take on a new significance . Soldiers in the same regiment, with battle scars we know too well. So it goes full circle in the end. Like ripples on the water they spread out losing identity in the endless sea, that common gene spread out across the globe in circumstances made different by some chance, or aptitude or doubt now seeks for answers in their heritage. Betrayed by life, and possibly by ourselves or celebrated through worth, or possibly by mistake, we seek for answers in our common stock, and see reflections in their point of view.Recalling some event from long ago, two grey heads, now cast in supporting roles, as urgent youth steps forward to take the lead, can smile despite their years, and in the solace of their shared heritage, unlock their childhood adventures once again.