When we think of families our minds usually jump to the obvious. Individuals that we usually live with that are blood related. The dictionary defines a traditional family as “a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not”. Because of this we often do not think of families that are made up of non-blood related members.
I often think about how truly grateful I am for my family. My blood related family members are extraordinary, but this gratitude is largely attributed to my family members who are not blood related to me.
My entire life I have grown up alongside who I am lucky enough to consider my family. They moved in next to us when I was around 6, and my life has been forever changed. Our parents became each others parents, taking us on fun trips, reading us bedtime stories, and giving us the dreaded scold as we all found ourselves in trouble together quite often. We shared birthdays, holidays, and family parties. In addition to constant access to my best friends because they were always only steps away. We all formed a deep bond, even our parents, that acted as an unbreakable support system in times when we need it most.
In times of loss or struggle we cry for each other, not out of empathy but because we truly feel one another’s pain. When my parents separated their dad stepped in becoming a consistent fatherly role model to my brothers and I, something we would have not received otherwise. When my mom was at work their mom would step in to give us rides to work and sports practices. I vividly remember the night before my oldest friend and myself were about to leave for college. We laid in bed together with his girlfriend and mother crying because we had all never been separated for so long before. A story that now we all laugh about but then was truly scary. How would I survive when my support system and I were split? However as we all learned that first year not even distance could break our support system.
I can truly say that without their love and support I would be nowhere near where I am today. Through the happy and scary times we have always been by each other’s. Although something truly terrifying has just occurred in our lives, my family is so incredibly strong and I know that we will be able to through this together.