On the Meaning of Family

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Do you have significant people in your life who aren’t direct family members?  Did you ever stop to think about the sequence of events that had to occur to bring you together.  And how and why the universe moved in a such a way to make that happen.  I’ve been trained to calculate probabilities and it might not be as remote as I think but it sure feels that way.  I’ve got a relatively open mind on most things but these connections that turn into something always lead me to believe there is far less randomness in the universe than we might think.  Perhaps there is a guiding force that sometimes directs people together.

OK, to take this out of the abstract, I’m again talking about the Work Daughter.  The strangest and most unexpected part about being made a boss was the attachment I’ve ended up feeling for the team.  There was just something about the position that brought out a protective side of me.  But, with the Work Daughter, it turned into something more.  It could have been a lot of things like her age or her situation or some other combinations of factors but something in me was triggered.

I’ve read multiple descriptions of INFP’s and there was one statement that INFP’s have a capacity for caring not always found in other types.  That part has certainly been proven to be true.

Oh, but I’m still really talking abstractly and you don’t have a clue as to why I’m rambling about this right now.  I told you before that she had been accepted to grad school and she got into the school she really wanted to get into but was afraid she wouldn’t.  Today, she posted her student ID card on Facebook.  Like most people, I do get happy when someone has an accomplishment in their lives but this one was more intense.  I was just overwhelmed with happiness.  The fact that something went right for her just made my day.

I quickly liked the Post and then had my internal debate on what to say.  And this gets to the whole family thing.  Do I have the right to say I’m proud of her?  That seems like something limited to biological parents and comes across a little odd to me as some random guy who was her boss at one time.  OK, I know that I’m more than that but, for some reason, it just seemed a little strange to say I was proud of her.  (Of course I am).  It isn’t something I can explain but it just didn’t sound right.  Like I’m some super important person who she needed to impress.  Yeah, I bet that doesn’t make any sense but sometimes my feelings really don’t.

I settled for just saying what I felt which is that I was really happy for her.  She responded almost immediately with “Couldn’t have done it without you”.  I swear I almost broke down just reading those words.  Which would have been a bit embarrassing since I was in a doctor’s office waiting for my allergy shots.  It would have created quite a scene.  Again, I can’t explain why that hit me the way it did but maybe that doesn’t matter.

My first instinct was going to be to downplay what I did because I want her to feel that she’s earned everything and that she certainly could have done it without me.  But, the more I thought about that, the more I decided not to go down that path.  I think we both know we have strong emotional attachments to each other but it is rarely openly acknowledged.  Her little message was her way and it said a lot more than it might look like it did.  For me to have minimized it any way would have been the wrong thing to do.

So what is family?  Strictly biological or through marriage?  No, don’t think so.  If you lucky, you have a strong supportive and loving family with people who deeply care about you and give you the encouragement and support you need.  If you don’t, then maybe sometimes the universe finds somebody who does.  We don’t have any children and that is not a decision I regret.  But it was funny because when she left, she said she was the daughter I never wanted.  Actually, she was the daughter I never knew I wanted.  I wasn’t clever enough to say it at that time.

Maybe I should just call her my daughter and drop the whole work daughter thing.  She had a good today and that made my day much brighter.

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