When I was growing up in California, we had these really good family friends, the Jameses (their last name was James, and I still to this day am not sure how to pluralize that). They were my parents' best friends in high school and had actually been responsible for the blind date on which my parents met each other. They had two boys close to the same ages of my sister and me. We were very close, like sisters and brothers almost. In fact, many of my childhood memories include them. Family vacations. Summer days. Playing after school. Going to church. As I said, we were very close. Family friends.
I've always thought that the meaning of that phrase "family friends" meant "friends of the family", which it does. But now that I'm grown and have a family of my own along with family friends of our own, I'm starting to find a better meaning. Friends as well as Family. I have a plaque that says "friends are the family we choose for ourselves." It was intended to be a gift for a good friend who moved away, but I never actually sent it (unfortunately this happens way more than I would like to admit -- a card, a note, whatever, that is never sent -- sorry to those of you who have been victimized by this major shortcoming of mine). Anyway - after spending a day with some good family friends from Indiana on Tuesday, I found myself treasuring this new meaning. Loving that my young family has such friends. Such family. And very, very thankful that, even though we moved "home" to be close to our family, we still have "family" in Indiana. And I believe we always will