I suppose I was sheltered as a child, but it took growing up to realize how blessed and fortunate I was and am to have the family that I do. When I worked in family law, I was confronted with broken families every day. Husbands hated wives, wives hated husbands and children were stuck in the middle. I always felt the worst for the kids – they didn’t ask to be born and they were in no way responsible for or in control of their family life. It didn’t matter whether the children were young or adults, they were always the ones who bore the emotional brunt of dead love. Further, my husband has worked in college football since before we met, and even though it’s a cliché, it’s true that football lifts many young men out of terrible family backgrounds, whether they included parents or siblings who were in gangs, jail, or worse. I grew up in a traditional family and am proud to say that my parents will celebrate their 46th anniversary next May. My in-laws will celebrate their 50th in April. They set such beautiful examples for me, my sister and my husband and that is something to cherish. What about the other family? The ones you can choose? I have been given the gifts of true friends who are part of my extended family, whether I met them through football, church or work. I know I’ll never forget where I was when my best friend/little sister, Diane, asked me to be her daughter’s godmother, or how I felt when I was reunited with my best friend/mother figure, Brenda, after 10 years. I know I don’t always tell my family (blood related or otherwise) how important they are to me, but I am blessed beyond measure to have such love and support in my life.