I came from a mixed family. My mom left when I was 2 years old. It was just my dad, my older sister Jenny, and me until I was 8. When I was 8, Dad remarried a woman who brought two more kids into our little family. Brandon was 2 at the time, and Tanya was 1. Together, Dad and Mom (my step mom) had two more children - Ray (who was 9 years younger than me) and Matthew (11 years younger).
Dad was a reasonably good father before he remarried. He was gone a lot (work, depression, etc)... but he always made sure my sister and I were taken care of, and he never hurt us. After he remarried however... she was abusive, and he followed suit just to hold onto her. We siblings were always close though. Yeah sure, some of us fought from time to time, but for the most part, we had each other's backs as much as possible through the rough times.
And now? I don't speak to my parents at all, and two of my brothers are gone.... they killed themselves.... hung themselves... unable to take the pain anymore that they were forced to deal with on a daily basis. I still blame myself for their deaths, even though that logical side of me knows it's not my fault. But... I digress...
So often, I find myself unintentionally pushing others into the position of those I don't have anymore. One person I learned to trust, I started looking at as a father figure. Another, as an older brother (even though a: Brandon was several years younger.... he still acted like an older brother would; b: the person I put into that role was also younger... but acts like I would expect an older brother to act). And another as a younger brother (though there is no way I will sing him to sleep at night).
Is it wrong to put these expectations on others? yes. And I do know this. However...
I truly do believe God had a hand in all of this. He brought these people to me when I needed them most. True, I do not believe He placed them here to be replacements for my own family - thinking of them this way has been my own doing - but He still put them in my life for a reason. Each of them has filled a hole that needed to be filled. Each of them has enriched my life more than I could have imagined. Each of them has been a major contributor in my growth.
What's my point to this post? Heck if I know. Just need to ramble....
But seriously... on top of these wonderful people, I've also had a few others I am happy to call sister... and one whom I call my twin brother. And a couple beautiful women I will always call Mom. Family is not who donated genetics. It is not who raised you. It is not who grew up with you. Family are the people whom God has placed in your life to help you grow. Family are those whom you've helped grow. Family are the people you turn to when you can't see the light, and are the people who turn to you when they're in the dark. It isn't about blood... it's about the tears shed, and the hugs given, and the dreams shared.
Thank you God for those you've brought into my life... those who have helped me grow.... those who've helped lead me to you... those who've held me in the darkness, and have allowed me to hold them. I am truly blessed to have them in my life.