Sometimes, we already have the things we are desiring, but let titles and specific frames keep us from seeing. I was born Deerfield Illinois to my parents who’d both broken away from the systems they had grown up in Iowa and Kansas. Life went on, they got divorced, and I grew up.

More than wanting parents that were married, I wanted family close by, envying my friends whose extended family lived near. Having a single mom who was a flight attendant, many people built into my upbringing. When my mom would work, friends from church would pick me up from school, and let me stay at their houses and be apart of their families. My mom would do the same for them with their kids.

We, five families, started spending more time together including family dinners, the 4th of July, and Christmas Eve. A few years ago, I had a realization that I really did have family that lived close by. These people who have been in my life the same amount of time as my relatives are my family as well.

I chose to see that I was surrounded by aunt/uncle figures who were constantly in my life, and cousin figures as well, instead of only seeing I had family far away. The fact that I had extended family in Kansas and Iowa stayed the same, but I could choose to see these other figures in my everyday life as family too. I realized I was even more enriched than my friends who I’d envied so much! I learned to change my definition of family, to enable myself to see that I was surrounded by all the family had desired and more.