Families, whether it is a large group of blood-related siblings who all look alike or a small group of friends all have something in common: love and loyalty.

If there was ever help needed, or if someone was in trouble, they would have help or support no questions asked. They are what make you feel wanted and not alone. They’re who you have; whether you want them or not.


For me, family has always been the number one priority; no matter what, you stand by your family member, and they always come first. Usually, the people who I consider family are my blood relatives, but there are some that are not.

For example, there are these three girls, one of them is my age, the other is a year younger than me, and the last one is four years younger than me. I have known them since I was about four years old. Our families have known each other since as long as I can remember, and I see them as my cousins (and aunts and uncles). It was until recently that I knew that they were not blood-related to me at all. When I found out, I was flabbergasted. Never would I have thought that those three girls were not my family.

Then, there is my other male cousin. His father is my mother’s brother. He is my first-cousin, and is about seven years older than me. He has been a part of my family since before I was born; he has been to my mom and dad’s wedding, and babysat my sister and I while he was in high school. I have remembered him even when I was three years old. I remember telling him to always give me a piggy back ride, and to take me to gas stations for Slurpees. I see him as an older brother, yet he is my first cousin.

So, my question is: why does there have to be a label on who is related to you, and if they are blood-related to you, why do we still have to further label them? Why does there have to be a first-cousin, second-cousin, and further on?

If someone asked me if those three girls are related, why can’t I just say they’re my cousins?  If someone asked my older cousin who I was to him, why can’t he say I’m his sister? Well, you know what? He does say that (I’m his sister), and I say that those three girls are my cousins – with total conviction and no questions asked.


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