Entered on April 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the love of family and friends. Growing up in a non-traditional home that included my grandmother, my aunt, and younger cousin, I was well aware that families come in all different shapes and sizes. Being questioned by my young peers throughout grade school about why I did not live with my parents was the norm for me. I often times wondered why I did not live with my both my parents, or at least one of them. The thought of hurting my aunt’s feelings kept me from asking her the question that was daunting me.

I went through middle and high school with very little interaction with my mother and little to no affiliation with my father (even though it was his sister and mother that were raising me). I rarely visited my mother’s side of the family with the exception of holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I only got to see my father when we visited Kentucky for summer break and even then all we did was say hello. By the end of high school, I was filled so much confusion. I was no longer even trying to speak with my father when he would call to speak with my aunt or grandmother. My aunt would attempt to persuade me to change my outlook. I could not figure out why I was so upset, when deep down inside I knew I was better off in my current living situation.

When I went off to college my mother came back into my life and began to help my aunt with my expenses. I randomly met my best friend in a dance class, and later found out that she grew up just as I did for similar reasons.

Through talking and confiding in her, I was able to see that I had no reason to be embarrassed to say that I never lived with either of my parents. She and I bonded really quickly and through her I was able to meet another best friend. These two and my immediate family have been able to walk me through hard times. Without my family I would not be the person I am today, a college graduate who is working on a Master’s degree in Social Work. Now that Mother’s Day is nearing I am thankful to the two ladies who were mothers and so much more to me, my aunt and grandmother. This is why I believe in the love of family and friends.