You may have heard a version of the old saying, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” Depending how we look at it, we can find more than one meaning behind the saying.
More than a dozen years ago, my husband and I moved twenty-five hundred miles away from home to a place where we knew absolutely no one. This was a first for me, because even after we were married and moved from our hometown, we lived within a forty-five minute drive of both our families.
After we relocated across the country, I was grateful for the chance to make new friends and really don’t know what I would have done without them in my life. Over time, some of these friends have become just as close as family to us.
That’s the good part about choosing friends that become like family: family can be where you find it—which is the theme of many of my stories.
In one of my books, A Rancher’s Pride, the hero discovers he’s the daddy of a deaf five-year-old girl he has never known about. With the help of the heroine, he learns to communicate with and love his little girl. In another book, Rancher at Risk, the hero has lost his wife and young child in an accident and is now in danger of losing his job and his self-respect. During his story he has to accept a possibility he has always rejected—that he’s capable of finding a new love and creating another family.
On the other hand, there can be another, less happy angle to the saying above…the part about not being able to choose your family. Some of my books address that, too. They would have to, wouldn’t they? Because if family’s where you find it, that includes the family you were born into. As Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”
This is true for the three granddaughters in my current series, The Hitching Post Hotel. It’s also true…though a little frustrating…for the heroine of Family Matters, Kerry MacBride, who comes from a large and somewhat eccentric Irish family. She often wishes she could give up her family—at least temporarily. Here’s a little clue as to why she feels that way:
Kerry knew better than to risk a run-in with a police officer. But Uncle Bren? And Gran? Much as she loved them both, it wouldn’t surprise her to find either of them in trouble.
She burst through the doorway into the game room, skidded to a halt on the polished tile floor, and confronted chaos.
The room overflowed with people, all yelling at once. The loudest roar came from a dark-haired man tall enough to dwarf Uncle Bren’s near-six-foot frame. The man, slim but muscular in a pearl-gray suit, looked ready to split the jacket’s seams with his wide-armed gestures.
Thank goodness, Gran stood safely out of his reach. But Uncle Bren, hemmed in by the crowd, faced the brunt of the stranger’s anger.
Even without her years of artistic training, Kerry would have seen something wrong with this picture.
“Excuse me,” she said, using her project-to-the-back-of-the-classroom tone. “What do you think you’re doing?” The question drowned out every voice in the room. The shouting subsided and every head turned her way.
As she moved forward, people parted, allowing her to pass.
The man now faced Kerry, his eyes dark with anger. She caught her breath at the fury in his expression but didn’t break stride until she’d reached him.
Looking up–way up–she met his gaze. “What’s going on here?”
After a long, tense silence, he answered, his tone level. “We’re holding a meeting.”
She widened her eyes. “It sounded to me more like having an argument.”
Behind him, Uncle Bren stood unmoving but nodded in confirmation. Trust him to let her pick up the problem and run with it.
Family is where you find it. That could mean bonding with your brother, a distant cousin, your BFF, or a person who’s nearly a stranger to you at this moment.
I’m giving away an autographed print copy of Family Matters to one reader. (US mailing addresses only, please). To get your name in the hat, tell us about a friend you consider as close as family. If that doesn’t apply to you, tell us a quality you look for in a friend.
Leave your comment by Friday, and a winner’s name will be posted in the comments over the weekend.
About the Author
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.
The latest book in Barbara’s The Hitching Post Hotel series is The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal. The next book, Cowboy in Charge, debuts in July 2016, with other books to follow. Her first book, The Sheriff’s Son, has just been reissued in both larger print and a new e-book version, available exclusively from Harlequin. The original version is also still available at most major e-tailers, including Amazon.
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