My mom always nagged me about how distance I am from my relatives, especially my cousins. She always reminds me that blood is more important than mere friends I have.
I cannot deny that my relatives (some of them) were the ones who were there for my family during times of need. They were the one who helped out in many ways when I don't even have bus fare to school. For that I am eternally grateful.
Problem is, I don't meet them except once a year during hari raya, or when there are ceremonies like weddings etc. We're like NS buddies, only to meet during in-camp trainings. Other times, we're like perfect strangers. We don't call, chat or sms like my friends and I do. We don't live like how my parents did when relatives stayed close together within the same kampung etc. In that situation, my cousins should be the obvious choice as friends. Now, I sometimes don't even know where most of them live.
Futhermore, they are all well to do and don't need any financial assistance whatsoever. I can't think of anything else I can do to repay them or show my gratitude. Will it suffice to simply show my face around and pretend that we are close?
On the other hand, I meet my friends almost everyday. We enjoy each others company. We are also more open and frank with each other. With my relatives, I show a fake facade, that everything is fine, no animosity even though I can't stand some of them. I am pretty sure they share the same opinion. How do you pour out your emotions with someone you barely meet once a year?
At the same time, I cannot deny friends will not be there forever. The status can change from buddies to someone we used to know. I experienced that before when most of them got hitched and their new family a priority. We no longer even meet for a cup of coffee, like we used to. I can understand that even though it does pisses me off. Compared that to my relatives, whom I am not even close to begin with, there is no reason to get pissed off.
Today an event happened that made me feel closer to my friends. The thought of losing any of them got me quite emotional. At the same, another event relating to one of my aunt made me feel how I must strengthen my ties with my relatives.
So the question is - who should be of more priority? friends you always meet but may become ex at some point, or relatives who you seldom meet but can never remove the link - blood? It's like married with kids - your status can turn ex wife/husband but you can never be ex-father/mother to your kids when you get separated.