The implication in most common uses of the word "family" is a definition of 3 or more people: Mom, Dad and Kid. Two lovestruck, star-crossed lovers apparently aren't as bonded as they thought, or at least, not if they want to be called a "family."
In my single days, I was one of a three-woman set. We were together almost every weekend, and two of us worked together. On Thanksgivings, we got creative: make-your-own-pizza was the menu one year, and all-you-can-eat crab legs the next. I often say that the experience taught me that Thanksgiving is about who's around the table, not what's on it. I always knew we were a family.
Now that the number of households with adults living alone is exploding, the idea of family-you-choose may gain more acceptance. I'm betting that women are better positioned for this new life stage because we're more likely to have already webbed together a support network of girlfriends. A family.
My BFF likes to say that she knows homosexuality can't be a choice because she would have chosen it long ago. Girlfriends, she argues, are more dependable, more loyal, more willing to show up for whatever is needed, more honest and more enduring that any man she's ever known. I agree.
My nominee for an award this month's International Women's Day (March 8) is The Girlfriend. Harness her power and you could light up Vegas.