What does family mean to you? To me, family is literally everything. Not just the family that I was born into, but the family that I chose over the years. They are the ones that I know I can always count on, through the good and bad; who loves and accepts me; supports, encourages, and believes in me; and more.
I’m not going to go into detail about every single member of my family because we could be here all day, but I want you to get to know my immediate family. They’re pretty incredible.
Papa: My grandpa was a one-of-a-kind man. No matter where I was, no matter what I was going through, and no matter when I called, my Papa was always there for me when I needed him. Growing up, he was my father figure; the only man that I could count on. I never thought I could imagine my life without him in it, but I’m now forced to exist in a world he no longer lives in. There was never a time that I questioned his love for me, or our family. He was the glue that held us all together. He was home.
Mom: Most girls grow up attached to their Daddy’s hip, but I, however, was my Mom’s sidekick. Wherever she went, I followed. From the beginning, I was destined to be just like her. She has always been my hero; my best friend. Even in her weakest moments, she has been the strongest woman I’ve ever known. In such a short life, she has been through so much, and the world hasn’t treated her fairly. If it’s the last thing that I do, I will give my mother everything that she deserves. She is the best thing to ever happen to me, and I couldn’t imagine a different life for myself than the one that she created for me. As long as I can be at least half of the mother to my kids that she’s been to my brother, sister, and I, I’ll have done something right. My Mom is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, from the inside out.
Garrett: My not-so-little baby brother and I have a completely different relationship now than we did growing up. As siblings, we obviously didn’t get along. It was my job to be bossy and in charge, just like it was his job to be the annoyance. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but the older that we got, the more than I realized I needed my brother by my side; always. We’ve been through so much together. He has come such a long way from where he used to be, and I couldn’t be more proud of the man that he is today. Our hardships have brought us so much closer. There are some things that I wish I could go back and change, but I hope he knows that he will always have my love and support. We’ve got each other!
M’Kayla: My beautiful, intelligent, goofy ass sister is unlike anyone you’ve ever met before. Although she is incredibly shy and anti-social, she has one of the kindest souls out there. She goes above and beyond for those that she cares about, and I love that about her. We’re 5 years apart, but she is truly my best friend. I couldn’t go through this life without her. My son has been attached to his Aunt Kaywa’s hip since birth, to the point of strangers even asking if he was hers. You’re the best part of our lives, M.
Aiden: Aiden Ray, you are my Sunshine. Though he was not “planned,” he has been my greatest accomplishment and blessing. I may have felt as though I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of raising a young man, but he came into my life when I needed him the most, and I wouldn’t image it any other way. It definitely hasn’t been easy all of the time, but it’s always been worth it. Being his mother is the most rewarding part of my life, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him. He’s so incredibly smart, well-mannered, adventurous, bubbly, and precious, as his teacher calls him. He has the most beautiful smile, and will make your day from the start!
Austin: Things weren’t always the easiest when we first met, but he never gave up on me. That’s more than I could say for most before. He took the time to get to know me, my past, my likes/dislikes, worked for my friendship, earned my trust, built up my confidence, broke down my walls, was patient, listened, and loved me unlike anyone ever had before. My happiness meant something to him. I meant something to him. His love is powerful and healing. Since the beginning, he’s encouraged, supported, and been there for me through everything. He is the best thing to ever happen to Aiden and I, and we are eternally grateful to share this life with him.
Dad: My Dad and I didn’t have the best relationship growing up, and it created a lot of issues for me. We didn’t always get along, or see each other, but I’m thankful that we are learning to put the past behind us and work towards a better future together. Forgiving him wasn’t easy, but it has helped me to begin healing. He can make me laugh like no one else, and the fact that he loves to cook is a bonus in my book (who doesn’t love to eat?), but every girl needs a father. It wasn’t until I was a grown woman, but I’m glad that mine stepped up and is mutually working on mending our relationship. I love him, and the life he is building for himself.
Kim: We haven’t been a part of each other’s lives for very long, but I’m so happy that she came into my father’s life. For most of his life, he hasn’t always made the best decisions, but she has been the greatest. Over the course of my relationship with my father, no matter how off and on it’s been, I’ve never had a relationship with someone like I have with Kim. I feel as though I truly have a second mother, and I’ve never had that before. I love how incredibly close we have become in such a short time.
Toriegh: Believe it or not, Toriegh and I didn’t meet for the first time by my brother introducing us. However, we met because of him. She’s another sister, and I love her immensely. My brother is incredibly lucky that she came into his life when she did. I couldn’t imagine a better family for him than Toriegh and Bubba. They’ve brought out the best in my brother, and I couldn’t be more excited for their family.
Bentley: My nephew is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, isn’t he? Bubba is such a clown, and he will steal your heart within a matter of seconds. His laugh is contagious, and his sweetness will give you cavities. But watch out for that attitude! I love my baby boy, and am enjoying watching him grow.
Dylan: We’ve only known each other for a few months, so I can’t truly say much about what I know of him personally. What I can say, and it matters more than anything else in this world, is how incredibly happy he makes my sister. She’s been through a lot, but she deserves so much. Her heart is on her sleeve, but she loves with her entire being, and any man would be lucky to have her by his side. As long as he continues to be the best version of himself for her, and never lets her feel alone in their relationship, he will always have a place in our family.
Although this definitely isn’t everyone in my family, this is my immediate family. I’m not someone who gets out of the house much, but when I do, I’m usually with one of them. They are my entire world, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without each of them.
Thank you for getting to know my family. They are pretty damn incredible, and I’m the luckiest woman in the world to have them on my team.
Day 9 coming soon.