I’ve been thinking a lot about family recently. It’s always been my understanding that in one way or another anyone sealed in the temple is sealed to our giant eternal family. So in my mind and to people close to me I have always said, “Family is what you make it.”
As a child I grew up with three brothers and no sisters. It was great at times to have brothers, and in other times, I just needed a sister. So I went outside my house to find some and was blessed with three sisters, Rilee, Dawniel, and Emily. These girls were my saving grace at times and other times, we fought like sisters do. While developing this sisterhood with them, I came to find a second mother in Ilene and another father in Joe. This family embraced me as a sister and daughter nearly 15 years ago.
All but one of them I should say. It took Camille a bit longer to accept me as a part of the family and it wasn’t until after she got married and, if I remember correctly, sometime while she was pregnant with her first child 4 years ago that she finally started to open up to me and my role in her sisters’ and parents’ lives.
I’m happy to say that now it is easy for her to call me her sister and an aunt to her babies. And I am so happy to call her kids my niece and nephew and to call her my sister. The day I got married I received invaluable advice from her that only a sister would give. She is an incredible wife and mother and I am so grateful to be able to call her a sister.
I have another couple of girls I like to call sister; Stephanie and Heather. Stephanie is actually really a cousin of mine. Last summer she came to live with us for a year and during that time I got to really know her. She also has no birth sisters. So when we got to play sisters for a year, we had a lot of fun with it; she even stole my clothes from time to time. I hope that she sees me as a sister figure as well and knows she can come to me anytime. Heather has been my best friend since the seventh grade. She knows me well enough she can basically read my mind and match my clothes no matter what. She has seen me through some bad times and we’ve enjoyed a lot of good times together.
Since I got married to Jose, my family has grown. I have gained new siblings in Jani, Jared, Monica, and Herlan. I have six new nieces and a new nephew. I have two more people to call my parents, Daysi and Antonio. I am so blessed to have joined such a close knit family and become a part of their lives.
I also realized that Jose has several other guys he calls brothers, and more of our close friends that are a part of our family too: Paul and his soon-to-be-wife Ziti, Paul and his girlfriend Ena, Miles, and the Guzman family. The Guzman boys, David and Diego, are brothers to Jose but I knew them long before he did. I lived next door to them for a few years when I was really little. So to me, David, Diego, Jenny and the whole Guzman family is my family as well.
Even with all this family I have adopted into my life, I have my “birth” family as well. I have three awesome brothers, Grant, Garrett, and Ben. I have a sister, Caisa, who has been a comfort and friend to me in time of need. I have a nephew. I have parents, Jeff and Wendy, who supported me throughout my life and led me to become the woman I am today.
I am incredibly blessed.
I would also like to point out that I have some amazing cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, even neighbors who I have called “Uncle” or “Grandpa” or “Mom” who have contributed to my life in some way. Whether trusting me to babysit, or taking me shooting, or teaching me something new, each have left a memory that I cherish. I hope in some way I have returned the favor and expressed my appreciation for you in my life.
Thank you all for being my family.