“Being genetically related doesn’t make you family. Love, support, trust, sacrifice, honesty, protection, acceptance, security, compromise, gratitude, respect and loyalty is what makes you family.” I found this quote on pinterest one day and when I sat there and really thought about it it’s very very true, with me anyway.
I’ve had a rocky couple years with family in general, but I’ve had friends that have been such better family to me then some of my own. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some great family that’s been there for me through it all, mostly my cousins no matter what was going on they would still talk to me. But what’s been done has been done, and through the rockiness I learned who really is there for me when I need them the most and a good portion has been friends and cousins.
My first friend that is more like a sister to me now has been there for me since I was about 12 years old, so about 16 years. Our relationship hasn’t always been rock solid, we’ve had our issues like I think all friends do. We went to the same middle school together, so just about every dance we were running around together. Every summer for many years we were like batman and robin. For about 3 years or longer we were glued to one another pretty much. One summer I moved her out of her parents house to get her away from the toxic environment she was in and she lived with our family for awhile…that’s kind of when the rockiness happened. But, we had fun too. I did learn from that experience you probably shouldn’t live with friends. Despite what happened with that, when it was time for my wedding and picking bridesmaids I called her up and she was more then honored to be there for me on one of my most important days in my life. We’ve been there through graduations, a wedding, 3 babies 2 of those being mine and the other she just welcomed into her family a couple months ago. She was there for me during one of the roughest times in my life, when my grandma/best friend past away. She was actually spending the night when we got the phone call. I remember laying in my bed with her arms wrapped around me while I cried and she just kept saying “it’s ok, she’s in a better place.” That morning before she left she looked at me and said “you know I’m right up the street and you know my number if you need me.” That was a huge comfort knowing I had someone outside the family there to support me if I needed it. No matter how long it may be between seeing or talking to each other we always pick up where we left off and it’s like there was no gap. She is one of my best friends and she’s been one the most loyal people in my life, no matter what she’s been there if I needed her. There was never a question if I needed someone I could look to her. And I am the same to her. She’s my sister from another mister =P and I love her so much and I am so proud of where she is at in her life and how far she has come.
The next friend is another one that is like a sister to me. We’ve been friends for 15 years. We met in the 7th grade and have been there for each other since. There were a couple years were we weren’t attached at the hip but we still talked and were there for one another when we needed the other. We cheered together and had a blast doing it. There was never a dull moment on our squad. If I’d ever get myself into a tight spot no matter what it was she’d always step up to bat for me and I’d do the same for her. There were times she actually saved my ass from getting in trouble because she’d sit there and just say “Jen, shut up.” I can’t remember how many times that happened but I was very thankful for it. We did things away from each other with other friends but, she was another one that we were inseperable for a few years and at the end of the day we knew we could count on one another. Besides cheering together we went through a couple retarded boyfriends together, and some crazy nights I’ll never forget. Like the night that the guy I was seeing was pulled over and because his registration didn’t match his vehicle they thought he had stolen it. The cops wanted to search the vehicle after they had cuffed him and they told us we needed to sit in the back of the cop car while they did so, we freaked probably more me then her. When the police let us go we weren’t far from where her car was parked so they said we needed to find a ride and we told them we had one waiting in the Dan’s parking lot. I’ve never run that fast in my life. We laugh about it now because really we had nothing to be afraid of, but that night will be in my memory forever. Or the countless parties we went to and could’ve gotten into so much trouble. Hiding behind furniture so that when the cops would be at the door they wouldn’t see minors there. If I remember right there was one night I said something along the lines of “I don’t want to get a DUI!” while crouching behind a couch. She just laughed and said “your not driving you’ll be ok”. Goes to show how intoxicated I really was. The memories with her always bring a smile to my face. We weren’t in each others weddings but we were at each others weddings to support one another and I actually took her engagement and wedding pictures for her. She’s another one that no matter how long it is between talking or seeing one another we pick up right where we left off. Her family is like my family, most of them know me and we even spent a couple new years together. I love her like a sister and I don’t think that will ever change.
The other friend/sister was the one that always helped my heart stay close with the Lord. We’ve known each other for 14 years and whenever things seemed to get dark for me when I was younger she stepped up and would help me to look towards God for help. She kept me stable and out of trouble when we hung out. I’ll never forget when we were sophomores in high school we were in a theatre class together and earlier that day I had found out that a friend of the families son and a good friend of mine had taken his life the night before. I didn’t take it well. I found out from my gym teacher. I ran and called my dad who was at work and he told me to call my mom because he was with a customer and couldn’t talk. My mom was in Arizona dealing with my grandpas death, so when I called her she said she couldn’t talk at the moment so I called my grandma because it seemed like she’d be the only one to confirm this. To my disbelief it was him. I remember the words “yes Jen it was Brandon” coming through the phone, I hit my knees. I couldn’t believe it. I was a wreck the rest of the day. My friend held on to me when we were in theatre that day and kept saying “Jen, he’s in a better place. He’s home.” I got so mad at her because that’s not what I wanted to hear at that time, even though it was what I needed to hear. There were so many times like that that she was the voice of reason for me. She took our engagement, wedding and maternity pictures when we had our daughter and did a great job. Her and I have literally gone months with out talking and whenever we talk again all we do is laugh and hold each other up. Her sisters sort of became like mine and I’m so grateful for every time she was the voice of reason. I love her like a sister also and I believe she’s another friend that I’ll have probably the rest of my life.
Then there’s of course the girls I graduated from vet tech school with. I told them that even though we weren’t in a sorority together I feel like we were because we did everything together when we were at the school. There’s a bond between us that I don’t think will ever break. I haven’t seen most of them in a couple of years but I know if I needed any of them they would be there at the drop of a hat. I’ve always known they would be there since we all became close but last year proved that I was right. One of the girls ended up in the hospital and was put into a drug induced comma because she became septic. The other 6 of us sent her love and inspiration every day on Facebook. Although we couldn’t be there for her physically we were all there in spirit. And seeing the 6 of us come together for one of our sisters was such an amazing feeling to me. That was when I knew from then on that we were a family and that would never change. And to add to this wonderful group I would say our “sorority mother” has been a huge support also. She helped calm our stressed asses down when a few of us would be in total panic mode. She’s been there for me on more occasions than I can count. When I fell apart because I was no longer in the vet field she was there to remind me I’m not walking away forever, I’m just taking a break to take care of my family which right now is more important. So whenever I’m freaking out all I have to do is stop, breath and hear her in the back of my head telling me to breathe. That alone has gotten me through some really tough times. When I needed someone to remind me to calm down and needed advice all I had to do was call and she was there. She’s such an amazing person and I pray for nothing but the best for her. She’s like a mom to me, to all of us. We truly are a family and I love each one of them like my own family.
I have many people in my life that have been so loyal, supportive, trustworthy, respectful and accepting of me and my flaws. Each one of these girls and even some others have been some of my biggest support systems outside of my husband. I’ve looked to each one for something in my life that I needed help getting through. My cousins have been awesome also. When my parents divorced they all, the ones that were old enough, stepped up and said if I needed them they’d be there and they were. There were many days that one of my cousins and I would drive around Fargo when we were in college after the divorce just happened and just talked about it, which helped me cope with it a lot. So yes blood makes you related, but when you have the blood and loyalty together it makes family that much closer. Some of my family may not be blood related but they are my family. They say you can’t pick your family, that I don’t agree with. You can’t pick who you are related to but you can in fact choose who your family is, and the good portion of the family that I have may not be blood but they are the best family I have.