Family is what you make of it. Most people have a conservative view of what a family is: male, female, a few blood relatives. But I disagree, family presents itself in a variety of ways. For me, I am amazed at how my different families have developed over the years. I have my school family - a group of wonderful people all thrown together working toward similar goals that I met in college. Then there are the work families I have acquired, these are the ones that surprise me the most.
My past work family, you had the mom who'd do anything in her power to help you or just make you feel special for the day. My "sisters" celebrated when you celebrated and when you were down tried their best to help you out of your funk. I never thought about how true the individuals I work with really do become a part of my family, I invest in their life and care about them. More interestingly, I never realized how much each person somehow relates to a stereotyped personality within a common family unit.
Looking at my current work family, it is very diverse; not everyone gets along, not everyone understands each other, and we don't see each other every day or even every week. None of that matters though, it really comes down to the interactions and the mode in the environment. We still have Poppa Bear who looks after everyone, taking the time to get to knew them, cares for them, is hard on them when he needs to be, and gives you space to make mistakes and learn from them. The sibling, who people are nice to but don't necessarily agree with what they do, says, and generally makes people feel uneasy when their around whether they means well or not. The fun loving uncle who is always there with a joke, smile, or even a hug; he is always down for a good time but still gets his work done.
You have a couple older siblings - they are conflicted between what they want to do and what they feel they need to do to help their family. The few rocks who falls in the middle to younger portion for the bunch, encouraging those around them, putting themselves on the backburner because they believe someone is always in more need than themselves. You have the 1-2 very quiet people in the family that are hard to relate to but nevertheless you still want the best for them. A few siblings, don't necessarily know what they want to do with their life or what their path in life will look like but do well in whatever they do, striving to be the best version of themselves. Finally, you have the smack middle child and the youngest children. The true middle child is probably the most intelligent out of the bunch, but for whatever reason appears to work against themselves. They don't believe they deserve good things or they have the ability to achieve the dreams they have. They simply need someone to push them a little more and to really believe in them. The babies of the family, everyone wants to look out for them and hope that the given little hiccups in their lives don't push them off track to their true potential. You as an older sibling also hope that they learn which battles to fight and which to let go and be the bigger person.
It's funny, how much I really do view the people I work closely with as a family. I spend a lot of time with them and I enjoy the stability their personalities and interactions provide. More importantly, I like to be part of people's lives even as a spectator watching as they pass through pivotal points in their lives. It'll be interesting to see how interactions and personalities change as people come and go but I'm sure no one will be able to fill the shoes of family members past.
Does anyone else ever feel like you form families in the most interesting ways?