When my daughter Nick phoned up late last year and said, "hello daddy, erm, I'm engaged!", I thought she meant she had a long term gig with her band Liza23.
I said something like, "oh, good, where are you playing?"
She replied in that tone which daughters seem to reserve exclusively for their slow-witted dads, "No, daddy, enGAGed!!"
"Ah, enGAGed, ok, erm, that's great... isn't it?"
Well, it turned out that it was great - she was delighted - her boyfriend/fianc´e, let's call him Dave, had proposed to her all correct and proper as they had got off the tram on their way home.
He's a good lad; I knew him before he started going out with Nick which means that there is now a sort of two-level relationship between us, the one a kind of standard bloke-bloke relationship and the other a sort of relationship via Nick, he being her boyfriend and me being her father (for me a much more nebulous thing because I don't really know yet how it functions).
Anyway, Dave is from New Zealand and at the moment is over there visiting people - so when I awoke the other morning and heard there had been a pretty serious earthquake over there, I contacted Nick to find out if he was ok. Fortunately he was, but this led me on to thinking that he had obviously now crossed a strange psychological border whereby my subconscious had put him on my priority list of people-to-worry-about!
Had I been asked before I would have said that an individual becomes part of another family through some sort of official ritual, such as adoption, engagement or marriage or weird native American blood-sharing ceremonies or whatever (glad it's not the latter) but clearly there are other subtle, surreptitious and quite unconscious forces afoot.
So, Dave, welcome to being worried about!