“Hey Cory! That isn’t the girl you were with last night!” A voice rang out from the backyard of my boyfriend’s uncle’s house. As he blushed with embarrassment, I was more confused. “That’s the one I told you about-‘Puppy”‘, he said in a low voice. I now understood why I had been warned so much the days before the graduation party we were at-my boyfriend’s family was… eclectic, and I was about to become a full-fledged member of it.
Over the past five years, my family’s ties have dissipated. The downfall of the relationships started when we made the 150 mile move to Rockford, Michigan from Dearborn, Michigan. We weren’t able to see each other as much, and as people grew up, we really couldn’t. But as of May, 2007 I have found a new family that seems to love me just as much-the Kulak’s.
I believe that family doesn’t have to equate to being blood-related. From the moment I set foot on that driveway and started to meet the family, I knew that I was already a part of them. From being teased by uncles nicknamed “Moose” and “Puppy”, to being a human magnet for the two youngest cousins, to having a dishcloth shoved at me for cleaning up, I knew I was inducted into this family before I had even met them. Since that graduation party I have gotten to know and love these people like they were my own family. At Cory’s football games we always sat by each other wearing our bright red “Cory’s Crew” t-shirts, cheering, laughing, and conversing. I have had (and have accepted) invites to Christmas and New Year’s eves when I couldn’t be with my biological family, and we spent the nights doing traditional pastimes-watching the infamous ball-drop, exchanging gifts, and eating lots of food. I went from being so afraid of them to loving them in such a short time, and I am so grateful for that.
Family to me means many things; love, togetherness, and always being there for each other. Not once does that require having to actually be related. I have learned a lot from the Kulak’s about how family works, and how people have different ways of loving each other, whether it means teasing each other, nicknaming each other, or just spending time with each other. Even though I miss my biologically related family, I know that I have people looking out for me here in the Grand Rapids area, and people that love me. And family is exactly that: love.