Family. Friends. When you know both of them well, is there really any difference? I have only one sister, we bicker, we make up, we’re friends, until the whole thing happens all over again. But we love each other. One of my best friends name is Grace. We bicker, we make up, we’re friends, and before you know it, the whole thing happens all over again. When you know someone really well, it can be hard to find the lines between family and friend.
There are many types of friends. Some you know from birth, others you meet and feel like you’ve known them forever, and then there are the special ones you only ever see once, but then keep in contact with from then on. It can take time to get to know some one well enough to call them a friend, and some people you tell everything within hours of meeting them.
My Dad asked my sister, Arlene, and I a question a few days ago that really had us thinking. “Would you rather spend six months locked in a fully stocked cabin with internet access, or one randomly picked casual friend?” My sister and I both said friend, but then wondered. What if the person picking the ‘casual friend’ thinks acquaintances are casual friends. What if it was some you like to talk to, but weren't incredibly fond of? I bet if you think about it, at least three names subconsciously just popped in your head. Don’t feel bad, I’ve been going over the question for days, and probably have a much longer list.
How long do you think you would last before going crazy or strangling them? Or, what if it could be a really close friend you’ve known forever and love immensely? Do you think you could be stuck with them every day and night for six months straight? I mean, I have to live with my sister every single day and night, period, and there are time I love her dearly, and then there are time I can’t stand her. If you have any siblings, you know where I’m coming from. But, I asked that to get you thinking, how important are your friends to you?
William Penn, Prime Minister of Britain in the 1700s, said on the subject of friends, “Friends are twins in soul; they sympathize in everything, and have love and aversion.” If you don’t know what aversion means, don’t feel bad. I’m a writer and I wasn’t sure. But it means simply a distaste for something.
I go to a small church, and last week we all packed up and went camping at McCormick's Creek State Park. My mom, sister, and I only got to be there for a short period of time, but the rest had been there a couple days before we came. Spending a long period of time with others showed me how much I really cared for them as friends, and how much I could take, all of us living together.
When we played games, everyone who wanted to got to, when we went on hikes we made sure everyone was okay if they were lagging behind (okay I was the one doing the lagging behind, but they were good about checking on me). We teased each other when we goofed up, sat together for meals, and praised God together around the, impressively large, campfire at night.
One of the boys there, his name is Ben, and he is in a class all of his own when it comes to teasing, and bragging. There are times he makes us laugh, and times he makes us want to throw something at him, but he is still my friend.
All of us there knew how to tease each other, but, when it went too far, also how to apologize. Over one weekend I learned to be thankful for their quirks, their habits, their personalities, their sore spots when you pick on them, and the best thing to do to make them laugh. But most importantly, I learned the importance of friendship and sticking together, and I came to appreciate when you can’t tell the difference between family and friend. Friends are the people who pick you up when you’re down, hold you up when you’re happy, and and keep you humble when you’re successful.
I’m thankful for my family, and my friends who are like family.
By Emily, on Oct. 8, 2012, age 14
Friends who don’t know your real name
But remember your nickname
And why you’re called that
The people who know the secret
Behind the autographed pink cast
and why you hate peanut butter
The friends who yell with you
Argue with you
Laugh and cry with you
The friends who are kind of strange
Or even if they talk too much or too little
Who’ve always got your back
The people who tease you
But would never really harm you
And are always the first to help you
Those who are there for the good times
And would never leave your side
Even through the bad times
Your parents, and your siblings
Aunts, uncles, cousins
Grandparents, and distant relatives
Old friends and new friends
Best friends and good friends
Of all shapes and sizes
We who have your back
Who push you over mountains
And carry you through valleys
We who will always love you
No matter what others think
Who know there’s only one you
And you’re special
We’re your Family