Family. What do you think when you hear that word? Your parents, your cousins, your siblings, or even your friends.
For years I thought an family was a mom, a dad, the children, a couple and aunts and uncles, and cousins. That’s what I thought it was, that’s it. Nothing more and hopefully nothing less. That’s what I was taught from age 5 when I would play house on the playground to sexual education in school when I was taught that a mom and an dad who were married and in love would produce children and raise them. Little did I know, this was the opposite from the case, that I had at least. That’s the reason I was upset for years.
I was born in February 2001 to my mom and a dad. I lived my first 2 months of my life on a boat in North Carolina. Seems pretty normal, right? My dad was a workaholic who looking back probably did not care about my mom and I in the slightest. They got divorced when I was 3, and that was when my semi normal family was spilt in half. My dad was abusive and not a father to me even though biologically he was, and my mom was stressed but loving. At the time my mom met her best friend, who I will say now and forever because it will stay relevant to the rest of the story, was a man.
At age 5, my family consisted of my mom, my mom’s best friend, my two adoptive grandparents, and my adoptive uncle. I do not include my dad in this list since he was abusive, but yes up until age 13 I saw him on a regular basis. So looking bad and what I say now, I was raised by two best friends mainly.
For the next several years, societies ideas of family would very much be implanted in my brain and caused me a lot of trouble.
To keep his identity anonymous (I still know him but he does not know I am writing this article), I will call my mom’s best friend John. He taught me life lessons I will never forget, told me to follow my dreams, helped pay for all sorts of piano and art lessons, and is now taking up the risky business of teaching me how to drive. He helped my mom and I in ways I will never be able to thank him for. Seriously, he helped us get out of poverty (that’s a story for another day). But, people misjudging us really took a toll on me. The CONSTANT asking of “Are your mom and John dating?” and people assuming he was my father really wore me out. I was taught that there always had to be something more to a opposite sex friendship. That when I started getting distant from him because of the pure embarrassment of not being normal. I started hating him because he kept me away from my friends and peers thinking I was just like them. All I wanted was a mom, a dad, and a brother. Because that’s what I thought was right.
As for the rest of my family, my grandparents adopted my mom when she was born, and later adopted my uncle. My only biological family member was my mother. I had family on my dad’s side but they were just like him.
My later got away from my father at age 13. He was gone, so the only fatherly figure in my life was John.
It’s been two years since then I have realized it’s okay to not be a “traditional” family. I love my very tiny family a lot and would not trade it in for the world. I also learned along the way that I consider my friends very much as family. Again, that’s a story for a different time.
The conclude my experiences, I want to say that I actually have discovered new family. My mother went on the search for her birth parents and found them. Unfortunately, my biological grandfather passed away long ago and my biological grandmother is not speaking to us. BUT, we are now in close contact with the family on my biological grandfather’s side and are possibly going to visit them this upcoming December. Which makes me very happy and I am going to be able to get to know my relatives.
The reason I wrote this article is to reach out to those who are like me in that they don’t have a “traditional family”. Anyone can be apart of an family, it does not just have to be your biological ones. It can be your friends, your non-biological parents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, whoever you were raised by. In the end, why does it matter, as long as you love them and they love you, that’s perfection.
After you click off this article, go hug or send a text or call to a family member and let you know your thinking about them and love them. Just trust me. Do it.
(This article is based on my experiences and opinions regarding family. All opinions and experiences are my own).
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