Family defined by meaningful relationships, not genetics

Typically, you are raised by the people who gifted you life on this Earth. But it’s entirely up to you regarding who you call family.

I grew up never knowing how it felt having a mother and father in the same household, at the same time. I’m not going to lie. It was confusing at times, trying to grasp why my family was different. At times, I felt lonely and yearned for the typical two-parent household. I wanted what I thought was a good, normal life.

Living with my single mother in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, while my dad was living miles away in San Antonio, Texas, I really began to feel the separation in my family. It was a struggle visiting my father only during the occasional breaks a student receives each year. Summer was always my favorite time, because it allowed me to see my dad for a couple of months versus a week or two.

Summer always consisted of fun in the sun and week-long camping trips with my dad. Even though it was fun and memorable, I still wished I had a huge family to share it with.


It was in the summer of 2012 when I made an extraordinary discovery. When I was walking off the airplane to greet my father, there was a group of people standing beside him. At that moment, my dad decided to introduce me to my soon-to-be stepmother and her three children. At first, it may have been a shock. But it was also one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Getting to know my soon-to-be fam

ily was a dream come true. Trying to learn about Joe, Makayla, and Amanda (soon-to-be siblings) not only gave me knowledge about them but also created a connection between us. I heard their stories of just having their mother and not knowing their father. They grew up very similar to the way I did, and it was very comforting having these things in common.

Seeing my dad be in love with his girlfriend and building a life together made me happy. It was like watching a dream come true.

All the school breaks I spent with my father made me learn a life lesson. They might not be blood related to me, but they are as much my family as my father.

Blood doesn’t make a family; it’s the bond you share with each other. All the obstacles we overcame, and the quality time we shared, made us the big family I always yearned for. They were always there for me, and I was always there for them.

It was this experience that allowed me to learn that family isn’t limited. Family is infinite! Blood is only the root that helps a family grow.

You can live life and not even realize the strong bonds you are forming with others. You might sit down one day and see how many people are there for you. Then you realize how large your family really is, and how large it could be.

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