This I Believe

Katelyn - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My dad and I packed at the same time. As I filled up my boxes to leave our home for the first time and move to Syracuse University, my dad packed boxes to leave our home for the last time—as he was moving out to start a life that wasn’t necessarily going to involve me, my brother, sister, or mom.

Coming to Syracuse and starting a new life here coincided with the end to the life that I had known at home. When my dad left and my parents got divorced, my world sort of fell apart and my family crashed right along with it. I was immediately cut off from my cousins and relatives on my dad’s side, and my family broke up as a unit. Although individual members are still extremely important in my life, as a unit, my family couldn’t really be called a family anymore.

So, I’ve created my own family. My friends, which had always been an important part of my life, I came to rely on for more than just people to dish my secrets to, go to the movies with, and turn to for help picking out outfits for important events. My friends, the ones that I had had since kindergarten, and the ones that I was currently making at Syracuse, came to mean more to me. They have become the people that I rely on for things that I would normally turn to my family members for. When I have car problems, when I want to learn a new recipe, when I am short on cash, or when I am lonely—I turn to the family of mentors and best friends whom I consider sisters, brothers, and grandparents. These people care for me and take care of me. They are my family.

Because I define my family to be larger than those who are blood related to me, does not mean that I value my actual family any less. My mom and my little brother are the two most important people in my life—not to mention my cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who support me and love me unconditionally. However, I also know that I am extremely fortunate to have these people, not everyone can rely on the family that they are born into.

The importance of family is something that is commonly talked about in our society. That with your family you develop your core values, the relationships that will be with you forever, and the foundation for all of the subsequent relationships you will have in your life. I believe family is that important. I believe that your family should be people that you can turn to and be able to be yourself without fear of judgment. I believe that family is the people that you rely on and know that they will be there to help when you have all of the odds against you. I believe that you create your own family.