Family

Family

Talking about family ties
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The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”-Proverb

I don’t remember exactly when I was told my mother was adopted. Probably early on when I started to realize that we didn’t look like my Mother’s family. But it’s how I grew up. It was a fact for our family kind of like how the sky is blue and the world is round. It didn’t really matter to me. But it did cause me to have a rather different view of families than many of the people I went to school with and even now with many of the people I’ve met along the way. To me I had several families. I had the family with my Mom, Dad and brother, the family that was my Mom’s side, the family that was my Dad’s side and my Mother’s biological family. So I just kind of accepted that family comes in strange ways.

(Myself, my cousin Carin, my Nana, Sommer and my cousin Shana in 2012)

My brother and I were raised in Upstate New York with the families being spread out between New Jersey, Florida and at one time California. We didn’t see the family in Jersey as often as we all would have liked but we all knew of each other and when MySpace and Facebook became household names we all had accounts and friended each other with the promise we would be better than our parents had been. So we talk on different messengers and try to keep each other as updated as possible. But we’ve always been family, even though we didn’t see each other and didn’t grow up with each other.

(Above is my brother, my Grandmother and myself in 2008)

On the other hand when I moved to Florida I created my own family. These were not blood but they were the ones I chose. I had started to think of people as family before this but this was the first time that I realized it was happening. I met the Florida group over the 11 months that I was on the internship and as time went on they became the family I chose. We spent holidays together and birthdays and random days in between. These girls were my sisters and I wouldn’t change a thing.

(Thanksgiving 2013 with several of my Ohana)

Since I’ve been back I’ve attended family reunions for my Step-Mother’s family and one thing got brought up that stuck with me. A member of the family proclaimed that these people weren’t family because they didn’t grow up with them. And that kind of threw me. These people were blood to that person. But they weren’t considered their family. And I get it. I do. I understand where they came from with this comment. But it still made me think. These comments were a surprise to me. It made me wonder what my place was in this family. Did I matter? I thought of these people as family. I mean our parents have been together 11 years. There will reach a day where they’ve been together most of our lives. But at what point would I be considered family?

(Myself, my brother AP and my Father in 2014)

(Mom, AP and I)

Comments have been made for most of my time with them how I wasn’t one of my Step-Mother’s children but I thought of her as one of my parents. She’s done a lot for me but I wasn’t sure how to explain that. I’ve never been one to believe that you can only have so many family members. To me the love and care that I feel for those I deem family isn’t finite, it’s infinite so I can have as many members of the family that I choose. Not that I just adopt everyone, I’m selective in who I spend my time with and I’m selective in who I adopt into the group. My Florida crew or my Ohana as I’ve referred to them as joke about my intuition. It’s the Marissa test. If I decide that there is something off they aren’t brought in to the group. Fair? Maybe not but after some of the very memorable events we’ve had because no one (including myself) listened to my intuition we tend to be a little more careful.

(Louis, O, Little Guy, myself and S earlier this year for Mother's Day)

Either way I still see them as family. I don’t refer to them as steps anymore unless I’m trying to explain the different family dynamics that I have. As far as I’m concerned these people are family and I protect my family. Even if I’m not considered part of their family I’m including them in mine. And at the end of the day isn’t family what you make it?

(Mom and Grandpa in Florida)

Cover Image Credit: parentsguideline.com

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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Being No One's First Option To Hang Is Chill Because I Am My First Option

You are not the 1st person someone calls to hang out. You may be on the call list, but you're not number one. But that can be oK

Kate
Kate
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No one calls me first. I sometimes think about how it would feel for someone to think, "I really want to go here...Let me call Kate!" I mean, it could be happening and I just don't read minds properly. But, I pick up on energy and vibes even over the phone sometimes, and I know it doesn't happen.

Sometimes, when people ask me to do something, I wonder how many people said "No" before they got to me.

Sadly, this thought is normal in the world that we live in today. Most people don't care about strong interpersonal relationships. They care more about their image and what others think about them.

It is so disappointing the number of people who consider themselves "friends" with someone if that someone provides something for them. This can be either something tangible or something that makes them feel higher on their personal social ladder or ego.

I have literally made a cycle that I am 95% sure occurs once someone asks me to hang out:

1. Usually, they start with their boyfriend.

He says no...most men don't want to go shopping or be your personal photographer.

2. In comes Mrs. Popularity

Who makes them feel super duper awesome that they hung out with this person.

3. Then, they ask the person who they can receive the most out of

The one who will most likely drive...or the one who might pay for their meal.

4. Oh hey! Then there's me

The not-so-exciting one yet will totally have a great time with.

Usually, this would absolutely tear me up. I would feel worthless, less than, and question what was wrong with me. But I have grown to realize that this is not a reflection of me. This is a reflection of the other person and how disorganized their brain is.

Be your own first option. When making plans, think to yourself first. "Do I have to invite someone or can this be done by myself?" Start making sure that you are good and everything you need to get done first, is done.

Who cares if no one makes you their first choice, because you have YOU!

(DUH)

Cover Image Credit:

Kate Moore

Kate
Kate

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