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Who is early for parties and is there to help out? Who just walks in your house when they arrive instead of ringing the doorbell? Whose there during birthdays? Throws your mom baby showers?  Brings over food when your mom has a baby? Who calls every seven minutes for three hours until your brother is born? Or helps throw your parents a “surprise“15th anniversary party? Or is maybe just there when you need someone to talk to?

Lots of people have aunts and uncles, who are there to help when you need it and perform the above tasks. My aunts and uncle may not like me, but I have something so much more special, people who love me not because they have to, but because they want to. I don’t remember the last time my cousins, aunt and uncle came to Christmas. I love my grandparents, I really do and I am grateful for them but the rest of my “family” treats us horribly and it’s so liberating to be free of them.

I recently created an I-movie production of the photos from the last few year’s parties that my mom has thrown. She spends weeks planning and cooking to make all of these events amazing. When looking at these pictures I see our wealth of friends and think how lucky we are. All of these people come to these events because they want to, not because they have to. They come to celebrate the graduations and holidays because they care.

My parents have a lot of wonderful friends, but we have a few that are very special. My mom has a couple people that she calls her best friend. However there is one who is very special named Katrina who has been around since I was in elementary school. When we throw parties she is always there early to help out and is always the last to leave, she’s there during birthdays, summer nights, goes on taco truck adventures with us and she was even there on the morning of my graduation. She’s always there if I need someone to talk to and we’re incredibly lucky to have her. Sound like an aunt? Well that’s because as far as we’re concerned she is.

We consider my friends members of our family as well because for the amount of time they’re around, they are! Maria is my best friend who is always around and fits right in. We host a big Santa party every year and the past two years she been there to help me out with the kids. Over the summer she goes to all of my brothers baseball games with me and one morning she woke up at 7:00am to spend the day with us at one of Scout’s tournaments. My three other best friends Ryan, Alicia and Sydney are around all the time also and are used to the chaos. It’s something to get used to that’s for sure this house with all of the extra people all around is its own social world.

The point of this is the term family is such a broad term, anyone can be a member of your family, blood doesn’t matter. What does matter is who loves you enough to help when you need it and also its who is there to share in your special moments. The excitement of the week Scout was born is still something I vividly remember. It was obviously exciting because I had a new baby brother. However what made it so much more exciting was everyone who was there to share it with us. Everyone who cared to call to congratulate my parents or bring over food or visit my mom when my dad went back to work. When I look back I remember all of our wonderful friends.  No ones needs people who don’t love them around to drag them down. Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the ones who treat you right and forget the ones who don’t.