Jamie Bailey
October 18, 2015 5:03 am

I have a family history more complicated than the breakup of *NSYNC; as convoluted as any Lifetime movie plot. Long story short, I did not have a relationship with my biological father until I was 23. I knew of his existence. I knew his name and vaguely what he looked like. In early 2014, a basketball championship that took place in my current city is what brought us together. The rest is history. Okay maybe not quite yet.

As a child of divorced parents and patchwork families, I am thankful for the familial bumps in the road that shaped me into the woman I am today. And the perks of being a grownup while I grow close to my newer family members aren’t lost on me. Here are some of them:

Becoming Close with Awesome Siblings

Getting to know my “new” siblings has been simply delightful. I have three smart and beautiful little sisters (only one of which I grew up with) and a hilarious and adorable little brother. I have recently gotten close with them thanks to my new relationship with my dad. I know I share personality traits with each of them, and they each help me to understand who I am because of that. With the new beginning with my dad came three new best friends.

Realizing My Father and I Share Quirks

While getting to know my dad I have learned that we happen to have the same political views, and we are very passionate about them. We tend to make fun of a particular party, but it’s all in good fun. We crack each other up by sending each other memes and other silly bits of info. We also share the same passion for large animals. Whenever I go to the zoo, I like to see the “big cats,” as I call them. I see the lions and tigers and overgrown kittens, and I often talk to them like they are big babies. My friend once said, “I like how you act like these big ferocious animals are actually just kittens.” And it turns out my dad is the same exact way!

Super Sweet Step Parents

My dad happens to be married to such a sweet woman, and I can tell their kids adore her. Just like my sister on my mother’s side has a special bond with her own father, it’s nice to see all the ways in which others bond with their parents. It’s a really beautiful thing and important to understand that we learn to love in different ways at different paces. Across the board, it’s interesting to see my siblings accept and love our different sets of parents for who they are.

So when my friends go home for their nuclear-family Thanksgiving gatherings, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to just celebrate with one set of people? Then I’m like, “Nah.” I wouldn’t trade my eclectic, patchwork quilt of a family for the world. We may not all share the same last name, homes, or even parents, but that doesn’t change how much we care about each other.

(Image via iStock)

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