No, Family Isn't Always Blood, Yes, Sometimes It's The People You Choose To Keep Close To You

No, Family Isn't Always Blood, Yes, Sometimes It's The People You Choose To Keep Close To You

Your family is really the people who you choose to be around.


I realized a long time ago, that your family is really the people who choose to be around you. Who choose to be with you. Who choose to support, love, and care for you.

10 months after I was born my mom met my dad. (not biological, but he is my dad). Since I was 10 months old he's been the father figure in my life. His family took me in as their own. It actually took me until I was about 9 years old to know that they weren't actually "my family".

When I was 12, I met my bio-father, the one who's DNA I have. I realized that he was not fit out to be a dad. I realized his family was so different from how I am that I could never be apart of them. They were curt and rude and even said mean things about my mom's family (aka the people WHO RAISED ME). I was so furious, and still am. I cut them out of my life and never looked back.

When I was 8 my dad married my stepmom. They got divorced and she is now remarried. I still call her my stepmom. She has been there for me every step of the way. She let me live at her and her boyfriend's house for two years. She always checks up on me, is always making sure I'm having a good time. She has supported me throughout my life, from coming to awards/shows to taking care of me when I needed someone to talk to. She also took me out for my 21st, we went to a casino with a few of her other friends, ate food, and went to the club inside the casino. I am so close to my stepmom I feel like I can (and do) tell her anything and everything. She's just like a real mom, supporting me, giving me advice, and loving me as if I'm her own.

I have 3 siblings and a cousin who I call my sister. Two of my siblings are half-siblings, and one technically isn't related to me but she's my dad and stepmoms child so she is my sister. My cousin lived with me from when she was a few months old until she was 4. I spent all of my time with her. I always say she's my sister. I have a bond with both of them I cannot explain. My sister and I have a bit of an age gap, but even so, we still make fun of each other, share clothes, and fight. She's my sister even if she isn't blood-related to me. My cousin and I have an even bigger age gap yet we still talk on the phone all the time, I take her out to fun places, and I care for her as a big sister should.

You know a lot of people say you can't pick your family, that is kind of true in the sense of blood relation. But in all honesty, you can pick your family. Your family is the people who you choose to spend your time with, who love and support you, and finally people who care about you. Family is not always blood, it's the people who are in your life that wants to be there. I realized my family consists of the people I love, that love me, that try, and that have been there for me. The ones who stuck around.

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.

Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

SEE ALSO: An Open Letter To The Cool Mom

Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.


Your Daughter

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.


My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.

The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.

There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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