I believe in family. Not the family you wake up to every morning and say goodnight to each evening. Not the family who gets rowdy on Sundays watching football or gathers together on Thanksgiving. I believe in the family who grows up with you and knows your deepest secrets and the family who will laugh with you at the same jokes over and over again when nobody else thinks they are funny. Nothing is greater than the family created by best friends.
True friendship to me is a gift; not only a mere aspect of human life, but a special bond between two people that is unique in its own way. It’s not about the amount of friends you have, but instead the quality of those friendships. Friendship is hugs after a winning game, smiles behind the cute boys’ backs, cramming for finals, and laughing so hard you cry.
Growing up, my friends were those my parents thought were suitable. But, just as times changed, I learned that so do personalities; and as a result, some of the first friendships I had began to fade away. I went from Barbie dolls and dress-up to boys and make-up. In the process of trying to “find myself” I found other girls who were trying to do the same thing. Fortunately, I met my family of friends through sports. Automatically, we started with something in common. The thrill we get from competition brought us together and helped me start to see why I believe that friendship and family belong together.
My Yankee-fan family has learned to handle the regular company of a Red-Sox loving, truck-obsessed girl and another who is boy-crazy and shopping addicted. My friends and I can’t get enough of each other. My friend’s differences define who we are and still bring us together in a way that blood relatives can’t. The personalities we bring forth couldn’t be more different, but it’s one of those “opposites attract” kind of things.
As I get older I learn that friendships change and new ones emerge. Instead of staying up all night with my friends dishing on the latest gossip, I will soon be calling on them to get me through a tough work week or the agonies of house bills. In seventeen years I have discovered that my friends are my family and nothing will ever replace the memories we’ve made. Although we weren’t family from the moment we were born, we are no and will continue to be. All deserve a friend or two—or even nineteen—that they consider family. One of the best gifts in life is the unconditional love that a family of friends can give.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.