"I missed you!" he said, wrapping me a warm hug. We looked nothing alike. We shared nothing, not even a last name. And yet, he called me his 'sister', failing to adorn the title with the technical "step" attached.
First and foremost, I would like to sincerely thank those who gave such wonderful and supportive comments on my blog post "Shattered Dreams". I cannot put into words (no matter how bold or how pink) how much that support means to me as more than just a student, but as a young woman trying to figure her way into the world.
I am here now, in the comfort of my Rook sister (my Flip Flops') home, for Spring Break. I find it funny how, no matter how much has changed, her and I are still so close. We understand each other's humor, references, and feelings. It is such a deep bond, that of sisters, that is beautiful because we developed it by choice (and perhaps necessity at times last year) and not by virtue of birth. I am not sure if anyone can relate, but truly seeing how strong our sisterhood is over these few days outside of NU has made me realize how close I am to my own family members not of blood relation.
I turned the corner toward the busy food court of the bustling mall. "They must be on the otherside, so we ne--," Flip Flops and I had been trying to meet up with him and his girlfriend, Sarah. He, the older brother I had never had until 2007 when our parents (his mother, my father) married, came all the way across the state line to see me. Me: just his step-sister to outside eyes, but his sister according to him. It meant a lot to me that he went out of his way to come and see me, even if only for a few hours and only to walk around a mall. That is family, blood realted or not.
I would never go so far as to say that all Rook siblings take the place of actual family, so please do not mistake my message, but I have come to believe that 'family' is defined by more than who shares your DNA. The bonds you build with others outside of the genetic scope, whether with a step-parent or a close friend...even a Rook sister, are as strong as you choose to build them. College is such a wonderful opportunity to meet those people who will be a part of your 'family' and to realize the strength of the bonds you have had for years before flying-the-nest.
On a similar note, as has come to fruition for my dear Rook sister, one also realizes how some friend ships wear away with time and space. I, being a well travelled military brat, have had this reality check a few times over after moving around. But, for her, going back home to find friendships lost in memory is difficult. Some bonds will not fade, like the one between the two of us or even between myself and my three (technically step-) siblings, and those are the ones that count.