I LOVE my family. I ADORE them. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. But truth be told... in the grand scheme of things... they have to like me, right? Or at least put up with me? They don't have a choice. And I thank them for that :)
What about friends though? REAL friends? Tried and true. Not the acquaintances who will say hi in the presence of a mutual friend, but never make eye contact outside of that circle. Not the ones who you only hear from when they are in need, or in town, or wondering about some recent juicy gossip. Nope. The real friends...
The ones who had the choice. Who have an on-going choice, every day, and every day choose to be there, be present, available. The ones who near or far, the distance or time is of no matter. The ones who know ALL the petty details, the nuances, the caveats, the quirks, the dark and dirty truths, and all of the baggage too.
They stand proudly by your side (or by your side in spirit). They weather the storm with you... by choice. They know when words just aren't sufficient, and know some things need no explanation. They just need a shoulder.