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.
Find Barbara online:
Find Family Matters online:
Delilah – thanks for hosting me at the blog again. It’s always a pleasure to visit.
Readers – I’m looking forward to chatting with you this week and hearing your stories!
My friend Joy is as closer to me than any of my 3 sisters. When I met her over 20 years ago, she was determined to be my friend and it is all due to her that we have remained that way. She has been there for me through good times and bad even going so far as to letting my young son, at the time, and I live with her rent free. We have been through some tough times together and honestly, I don’t know what my life would be like without her.
Stacy – she sounds like a real keeper and has a wonderfully appropriate name considering all the goodness she has added to your life. What a great friend!
Thanks for sharing.
I have had a few friends that were really close, but when I moved they kinda drifted away… but the one that has truly been a best friend is my youngest sister… we drive each other crazy at times, but we can talk to each other and have a great time together.
Colleen – it’s sad when that happens, but sometimes distance and also time can make us lose touch.
On the other hand, it’s a fabulous win-win when a family member becomes your BFF.
Thanks for stopping by to comment!
Hey, Barbara! I have several “sisters” by friendship! They are all writers and are ladies I can call on for emotional support or even money. Each had offered me cash and fed me when money was low, and I didn’t even ask My sister-in-law might as well be my sister by marriage. Great topic!
Hey, Mary – great to see you here!
You are so very lucky. Friends like yours and like your sister-in-law who are there through thick and thin – through good times and bad (as Stacy said) – are the best ones to have.
I’m glad you like the post topic.
My best friend is an Aunt for my son as I am for her daughters. Her girls even call my dad and stepmom Grandma and Grandpa. I don’t know what I would do without her and there have been times when we lost touch for one reason or another but we always make our way back. I love her as much as I love my own brother, she is the sister I didn’t have. 🙂
Cindy – I so love when those “adoptions” happen and even the parents and grandparents get involved.
And how special to have found a sister! That doesn’t always happen and it’s good to hear you still touch base even after you’ve been apart for a while.
Thanks for swinging by the blog.
My bestie is Becca! I met her when our husbands (boyfriends at the time) played a lot of softball together! We became “softball widows” together! We no longer live in the same city, but no matter how much time goes by in between chats, we pick right up where we left off! Love her to the moon and back!!
I had a very close friend but some how things went bad. We had spent much time together and even her parents invited us to family things. I think it was her sister’s jealousy.
Hey, Sally – so great to see you! Thanks for stopping by.
That’s a wonderful way to make a bff – you can commiserate with each other. lol
I have a friend like that, too. It might be months or years since we’ve spoken, but we pick right up as though it was only days ago.
Hugs, Debra. I have been there with you.
In my case, it was my friend’s friend who didn’t like us getting closer. As their husbands were BFFs, my friend didn’t want to rock the boat, and I could respect and understand that. Still was a sad situation, though.
More hugs, and thanks for sharing.
I met my friend, Diane, when she joined our faculty. We became good friends and have been through a lot. She was there for me when my daughter was suffering from childhood epilepsy. My mom was in ICU and she came to the hospital at 2am to sit with me and family because my hubby was out of town. She was support when mom died. There when my brother and dad died. Still very close.
I Look for a friend to be trustworthy and friendly someone I can talk to about my problems and who trust me with theirs. Thanks for the chance to win iamabho (at) gmail (dot) com 😉
I have a couple of friendswho I have known almost my whole life. Needless to say they are family to me.I call them friends of my hesrt. I’m looking forward to reading Family Matters.
I don’t have any close friends but I do have friends, many of which I’ve met on cruise ships. I enjoy meeting new people who share the same interests and who are honest and dependable.
Mary – those are the most important friendships of all – the ones where you can count on each other to be there.
Linda – you’re very welcome.
And those are great qualities to have (and be) in a friend!
Carol – I love that phrase, such a perfect way to describe the friends we cherish.
Thanks for your kind words about the book. If you pick up a copy of Family Matters, I sincerely hope you enjoy Kerry and Matt’s story!
Michele – those are good qualities to have in a friend or acquaintance. And no matter how close a person is, I think any friendship can add to your life.
This makes me think of a character in Family Matters – an elderly woman Matt sees only when he goes to pick up his daily newspaper. Though their relationship seems very casual, it actually plays a big part in his life (and in the book! 😉 ).
Thanks for sharing.
My dear friend, Diane, is my best friend. We met through our daughters in Middle School. Though they later parted ways, we remained tight. She is from Canada. She married Jim just before we met and he adopted her girls. He passed away in 2013 from Parkinsons and her daughter is terminal from severe Schleraderma, which is slowly shutting her organs down. I moved after I remarried, so we are separated by distance, not by heart. We celebrate holidays together, travelled, laugh, cry, call, pray and just happy to have each other through hell.
Bethany – it’s amazing all the ways friendships develop, isn’t it? Just think – if not for your daughters, you two probably never would have met.
Hugs to you and to her and her family. We’ve lost friends from both those terrible diseases.
I love what you said about being separated by distance but not by heart. Absolutely right when we’ve found our true friends!
Thanks for sharing.
Hi, Readers! Thank you all again for stopping by to chat and share your stories.
Apologies for not announcing the winner this past weekend as planned. We were out of state for a family funeral.
If your name is not listed below, you could have another chance to win a copy of Family Matters, plus a gift card: See the St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway at the Events tab at my website. (Giveaway is open through tomorrow, March 17.)
The winner of the autographed copy of Family Matters is…
Congrats, Carol! Please get in touch with me by March 24th through the Contact Form at my website to claim your book.