For me, family is everything. I live, and would die, for my family. Included in this are some incredibly close friends who have become defacto family members.
But everyone's version of family is different.
My parents (and D's parents) will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversaries this year. This dynamic and the fact that my parents are still married definitely impacts our relationship.
I see nothing wrong or weird that my immediate family (parents, spouse, two siblings) know exactly how much each other makes (our siblings ... not our parent's income!). It's totally normal to me that my parents know how much educational debt I have. And I think it's a sign of a strong family to speak every day.
But some people would not agree.
I have a friend that finds it so strange that we all know everyone's financial information. Acquaintances who don't think it's "appropriate" to ask a daughter how much she spent on her house.
Not only do I plan to tell my parents how much I pay for my house, if possible I want them to help me pick out a good house!
I appreciate and value my parent's opinions. I want to learn from their mistakes.
That does not mean I won't go against their wishes if I disagree with them. But it does mean I will think really hard about something before doing something my parents don't think is wise.
Is this normal? Is there a "normal" family? Does a normal family dynamic exist? Or is each unique?
It's probably the latter.
Each family is itself a unique group of people with experiences, expectations and demands.
Do I roll my eyes when my dad calls me 5 times in one day because I haven't been near my phone to pick up? Yes. But do I feel disconnected when I haven't spoken to him in a few days? Yes.
My mother talked on the phone with her mother multiple times a day when we were growing up. Pre-caller ID (I know ... unconscionable now!) when the phone would ring, we'd laugh and declare "it's grandma," and we were usually right.
I truly think my family has a healthy relationship. We are very involved in each other's lives. True. But we also care deeply about each other. And would do anything necessary for each other.
My family changed when I married D. And now my sister, V, is getting married in November to M. That again is going to change my family.
M's family dynamic is different than ours and there will be adjustments.
But in the end, we are an extremely close family who ultimately want what is best for the other person.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.