One of my sister-in-laws came to visit with her boys. I had to get them out to shoot because I only see them once a year or so. She lives out west, and as we all know kids grow up fast.
My family isn't unusual, but it isn't normal either. Like most married couples we have my side and my husband's side. My side of the family consists of my mother, aunt, brother, cousin and two sisters (we share the same biological father) that I don't talk to often enough. [On a side note, I do have to include my sisters' mom, her husband, and brother, because they are just that awesome, and always have made me feel like blood to them]. That's it. My husband on the other hand has his mom, dad, step mom, a few sisters, a brother, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, several cousins....grandmothers...the list goes on!
Since his family is so big compared to mine I have grown pretty close to his side of the family because I don't have to divide up time so much. I love them dearly, and I can't imagine my life with out them.
Technically we don't get to choose our family...but we can choose to make a family. We can let in-laws, steps, halves, close friends, 4th cousin's wife twice removed, or whatever in to our lives, hearts, and homes and call them family because they have earned it. Not everyone in our lives earn that title. Some are born in to it while others have shown they are more family than our own blood at times. People take family for granted. They fight, complain, and avoid. Sometimes for good reasons...sometimes for reasons that don't seem all that important from an outsider.
I can say that the vast majority of my family is in no way shape or form related to me by blood, and that doesn't make them any less than one of my loved ones. Hold them all close to you. You will suffer loss and heart ache, you may fight, but you can also experience love, loyalty, and an unbreakable bond that only family can have.