What is a family? Is it a mother, a brother, or a sister? What about cousins, aunts, or uncles? Is a family relationship merely just a blood relationship? Or is family truly not any of those things at all? In my own life I have learned that the meaning of family has little to do with blood relatives and titles. To me, family is a matter of the heart and it has everything to do with emotional attachment. My family is not just who I see on the holidays or those who share my last name. My family consists of the people I would lay down my life for. It is the people who have impacted me as a person, who have helped mold me and pushed me to a better place. And in the simplest terms family is who you love and who loves you back.
When I was growing up, my family was never defined by blood relatives. My father’s best friends have always been considered to be my aunt and uncles. For instance my Uncle Mike always sent birthday cards and took me to do things when he was in town. I always knew he had no blood relation to my father, as he always referred to my grandparents as Mr. Wendell and Mrs. Edna. However that man, who later became my Uncle by marriage, has always been family to me. And when Uncle Mike takes his annual family picture he always makes sure to pull me off my barstool for the picture.
Most of the people I consider family, I have gained not through blood but through marriage. My father married my stepmother when I was twelve. A year later, I moved in with my father and a woman whom I barely knew. That woman ended up being not only more of a mother figure than my own mother was, but also my best friend. She never tried to overstep her boundaries or take the place of my biological mother. In doing this, her love and influence far surpassed anything my biological mother had ever shown me. And the love I feel for her is more overwhelming than anything I have felt for my blood mother.
Nothing has shown me the depth of family more than the unconditional love...