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  • Brittany Hembrough

The Most Important Thing


In the spirit of Thanksgiving we are going to talk about something I’m most thankful for, my family. I use the term family a little bit differently than most people likely do. To me family isn’t always the family you’re given, it’s often the family that you choose. I learned from a very young age that blood doesn’t always mean family and family doesn’t always mean blood. I’ve said that more times that I can count, especially over the last few years. I truly believe that family is what you make of it and simply being blood related doesn’t automatically make you family. There are several people in my life that I consider family who are not my blood relatives. They have treated me more like family than some of my actual “family” have and when it really comes down to it, it’s the people that make you feel like family that truly matter in life.


In my life you can find these people almost everywhere. Start with my immediate family. The woman I introduce to everyone as my mom was technically my stepmom until she adopted me. However, she has been more of a mom to me in the 6+ years that I have had her in my life than my real mom ever was. Two of my three siblings are technically my step brother and sister, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them. To me there is no “step” when it comes to them, they’re my brother and sister just like my biological sister is. I have cousins who technically aren’t cousins, they’re my cousins’ cousins from the other side of their family. Despite that we all say that we’re cousins and always look forward to seeing each other whenever possible. It doesn’t matter to any of us that we aren’t technically related. To us we’re all family and we all love each other.


If you’re lucky like I am, you’ll also have a few choice friends who have become family. I call them “my people,” and will often refer to them as my sister even though we’re not. Take my best friend, Kayti, for example. We are absolutely sisters. She is my person. Nothing will ever change that and it doesn’t matter to me that we aren’t related at all and didn’t meet until we were 19 years old. Luckily life gave me her and a few others (you know who you are) that I will consider family for the rest of my life and I’ll be forever grateful for them. If you are lucky enough to have these people in your life, the ones who aren’t your family but feel like they are, remember that you are so blessed. There aren’t many feelings greater than knowing that someone considers you family even when they don’t have to. They choose you every single day despite all of your flaws just like you choose them.


My family is THE MOST important thing to me in my entire life. Whether they’re my “real” family or the family that I have chosen over the years, they are everything to me. My life would not be the same without them and I would be much worse off if I didn’t have them as my family. If you have family members that aren’t family in your eyes, that’s ok. It’s ok to cut ties or distance yourself where it is needed in order to do what’s best for you. The best advice I can give anyone is to hold onto those who you consider family as tight as you can. Tell them that you love them. Show them how much they mean to you. Because not only did you choose them, they chose you and that’s not always guaranteed.


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