A Letter To My Family

A Letter To My Family

Blood isn't what makes a family, a family.
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Dear dad, Diane, and Emily,

We aren't perfect, but we come very, very close. You each have turned my life around. You've made me smile when I really didn't want to. You've let me cry when I've really needed to. You've made me laugh until my whole body hurts. You've made me feel so loved. Being away from you guys while I'm at school is so hard. I feel like I'm missing out on funny stories, late night chats in the family room, delicious dinners, and family time in front of the TV.

When my mom died, I never thought I could be happy ever again. Then I met you two, Diane and Emily. I was a little unsure in the beginning, but you guys already know all those stories. How we all thought we would look completely different from how we actually do. I then got to know you too, and fell in love with two people that I wanted to call family.

I begged you, dad, almost every night to let us have dinner with Diane and Emily. I always wanted us to be together. Taking the trips to Texas for Thanksgiving and Christmas were so much fun, and still are! We bonded, and before any engagement or wedding, I knew I wanted this to be permanent. Yes, I dealt with the constant grief of my mother, and I still do, but I knew I needed a mother in my life. I also knew that I still wanted the sister I asked for every Christmas and birthday. My wishes finally came true.

In November of 2012, when we finally became a family, I was so happy. At the wedding, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. The two families finally met and we became a family, and I knew no one was leaving and this wouldn't end anytime soon.

Now, almost four years later, I am still so happy. I love calling home at night and hearing everyones' voices in the background. We have had some really special moments, and we've had some moments of anger, frustration, and sadness. But that's all part of being a family, right?

Diane and Emily, you two have flipped my life right side up. You made my dad and I much better people. Who knows what our lives would be like if we didn't have each other?

I'm grateful that I have you guys to call a mom, a dad, and a sister. I don't feel the need to say the word "step-mom" or "step-sister." It just doesn't feel necessary.

We have traveled so many places together, shared so many stories, and talked about everything possible. I look forward to what the future holds for our family.

I love you all to the moon and back.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Don't Feel Bad For Me When I Say I'm In A Long-Distance Relationship

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks" or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

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When I first went out with my boyfriend, I wasn't expecting anything to come from it. He was in the Marines, stationed in South Carolina, and it was just a stupid Tinder date because I was bored and I thought he was funny and cute over Snapchat. Not only did he live an eight-hour drive away, but he was also heading out of the country for Christmas. I never thought I would ever hear from him again after I got into my car and drove back home.

But, I did, and a year and a half later, going on that coffee date was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Right from the start, I knew if he and I were going to date, we would have to face a long-distance relationship for roughly two to three years- whether I finished school first or he got out of the military was up to fate. For us, being apart is normal. We're so used to talking through FaceTime rather than face to face and not seeing each other for weeks on end is more familiar than hugging. We've probably blown more kisses through the phone than having had real kisses.

Would I love to be just a minutes drive away from him?

Absolutely.

Would I trade my relationship for anything else?

Never.

There's no reason for you to feel bad for me when I tell you I'm in a long distance relationship.

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks' or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

Being away from each other is just something we do. It lets us be independent, focus on work and school, but still allows us to support each other. Sure, long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, but couples make them work. No relationship is normal and like every other relationship, it takes patience, learning, and commitment. The only difference between a 'normal' relationship and a long-distance relationship is is that our 'date nights' consist of eating dinner together over FaceTime instead.

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